Abstract Background: In recent years, phylogeographic studies have produced detailed knowledge on the worldwide distribution of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variants, linking specific clades of the mtDNA phylogeny with certain geographic areas. However, a multiplex genotyping system for the detection of the mtDNA haplogroups of major continental distribution that would be desirable for efficient DNA-based bio-geographic ancestry testing in various applications is still missing. Results: Three multiplex genotyping assays, based on single-base primer extension technology, were developed targeting a total of 36 coding-region mtDNA variants that together differentiate 43 matrilineal haplo-/paragroups. These include the major diagnostic haplogroups for Africa, Western Eurasia, Eastern Eurasia and Native America. The assays show high sensitivity with respect to the amount of template DNA: successful amplification could still be obtained when using as little as 4 pg of genomic DNA and the technology is suitable for medium-throughput analyses. Conclusions: We introduce an efficient and sensitive multiplex genotyping system for bio-geographic ancestry inference from mtDNA that provides resolution on the continental level. The method can be applied in forensics, to aid tracing unknown suspects, as well as in population studies, genealogy and personal ancestry testing. For more complete inferences of overall bio-geographic ancestry from DNA, the mtDNA system provided here can be combined with multiplex systems for suitable autosomal and, in the case of males, Y-chromosomal ancestrysensitive DNA markers.

dx.doi.org/10.1186/2041-2223-2-6, hdl.handle.net/1765/23553
Investigative Genetics
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Oven, M, Vermeulen, M, & Kayser, M.H. (2011). Multiplex genotyping system for efficient inference of matrilineal genetic ancestry with continental resolution. Investigative Genetics, 2(1). doi:10.1186/2041-2223-2-6