Application control region of human mitochondrial DNA in forensic anthropology
Mitochondrial genome has particular features that make it a valuable forensic marker; first of all it is present in each somatic cell in high numbers. Therefore, it is more resistant to degradation and more stable under unfavorable conditions than nuclear DNA (nDNA) in highly damaged, degraded or very small quantity of the samples. Secondly, the high mutation rate, lack of recombination and the maternal mode of inheritance are features which make the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) better choice in situations where nDNA cannot be used for the analysis. Thus, forensic Anthropologists can determine how mitochondrial DNA may be best utilized in skeletal remains or hair shafts, which essentially lack nDNA but contain sufficient amounts of mtDNA. The most extensive mtDNA variations between individuals are found within the Control region or hypervariable regions (HVI, HVII, and HVIII) which allowed individuals to be differentiated and it could provide evidence about the identity of crime victims, especially skeletal remains. In this article we review the feature of mtDNA and its role as a reliable tool in Forensic Anthropology.
Keywords: Forensic Anthropology, mitochondrial DNA, Hypervariable regions