Evaluation of the suitability of mitochondrial DNA for species identification of microtraces and forensic traces
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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 (0.1g), three goose down samples (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 the particular source material. The extracts had DNA 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). Control reactions based on the amplification of eukaryotic-specific fragment (18S rRNA) were additionally performed. PCR and real-time PCR products for detection of species-specific mtDNA were obtained for all templates, whereas during the detection of eukaryote DNA no product was obtained for dog and cat hair only. The poor quality of the obtained DNA did not prevent the analysis. The results showed that mitochondrial DNA is suitable for identification of small or highly processed samples, in which genomic DNA often cannot be analyzed.
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