Evaluation of the suitability of mitochondrial DNA for species identification of microtraces and forensic traces.
The objective of the study was to demonstrate how mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) can be used to determine the species origin of animal microtraces. The study included pieces of cat and dog hair without the root, a fragment of cooked chicken bone (4 ´ 4 ´ 1 mm), goose down (0.028 g), a pork swab, a pork scratching (5 ´ 5 ´ 5 mm), and pork lard (0.22 g). DNA was isolated from all of these samples using the method appropriate for a particular template. The DNA extracts had a concentration exceeding 5.4 ng/µl with A260/280 purity range of 1.14 –1.88. Next the samples were subjected to PCR and real-time PCR with species-specific primers and primers complementary to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Controls based on the amplification of eukaryotic-specific fragment (18S rRNA) were additionally performed. PCR and real-time PCR products for determining species-specific mtDNA were obtained for all templates, whereas in eukaryote determination no product was obtained for dog and cat hair only.
The poor quality of the DNA obtained did not prevent the analysis. The results show that mitochondrial DNA is suitable for determination of small or highly processed samples, in which genomic DNA often cannot be analysed
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