Developing equine mtDNA profiling for forensic application

Susan M R Gurney, Sandra Schneider, René Pflugradt, Elizabeth Barrett, Anna Catharina Forster, Bernd Brinkmann, Thomas Jansen, Peter Forster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Horse mtDNA profiling can be useful in forensic work investigating degraded samples, hair shafts or highly dilute samples. Degraded DNA often does not allow sequencing of fragments longer than 200 nucleotides. In this study we therefore search for the most discriminatory sections within the hypervariable horse mtDNA control region. Among a random sample of 39 horses, 32 different sequences were identified in a stretch of 921 nucleotides. The sequences were assigned to the published mtDNA types A-G, and to a newly labelled minor type H. The random match probability within the analysed samples is 3.61%, and the average pairwise sequence difference is 15 nucleotides. In a "sliding window" analysis of 200-nucleotide sections of the mtDNA control region, we find that the known repetitive central motif divides the mtDNA control region into a highly diverse segment and a markedly less discriminatory segment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-22
Number of pages6
JournalInternational journal of legal medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • Animals
  • Breeding
  • DNA Fingerprinting/methods
  • DNA, Mitochondrial/analysis
  • Forensic Genetics/methods
  • Hair/chemistry
  • Horses/classification
  • Locus Control Region
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Species Specificity


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