Background: Short tandem repeats (STRs) on the non-pseudoautosomal region of the Y-chromosome are DNA polymorphic markers able to solve special cases in legal medicine, for instance in paternity testing where the alleged father is not available, and in forensic situations, such as rape cases, where mixtures of male/female DNA are present.
Methods: Six STR polymorphisms from the Y-chromosome (DYS19, DYS385, DYS389/I, DYS390, DYS391, and DYS393) were PCR-typed in 120 males from the northwest region of Mexico by means of native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and silver staining.
Results: Allele frequencies were estimated for each STR. Their gene diversity ranged from 51.4% for DYS393 to 92.5% for DYS385. Mexican Y-STR allele distributions displayed similarity (p >0.05) with previously reported U.S. Hispanics for DYS19, DYS389/I, DYS390, DYS391, and DYS393. Although Mexicans showed the same modal allele for DYS385 (11/14; 24.4%) with regard to most European populations, differences in allele distributions were observed (p <0.01). The haplotype diversity and the male discriminatory capacity of this six-locus system were 99.3 and 84.1%, respectively.
Conclusions: This knowledge permits the effective use of these six Y-chromosome markers in legal medicine casework in the studied population. This STR-system offers a great potential to identify males and male-lineages, and can be used confidentially in paternity testing and forensic analysis in the Mexican population.