Multiplex polymerase chain reaction for simultaneous quantitation of human nuclear, mitochondrial, and male Y-chromosome DNA: application in human identification

Anal Biochem. 2005 Feb 1;337(1):89-97. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2004.09.036.


Human forensic casework requires sensitive quantitation of human nuclear (nDNA), mitochondrial (mtDNA), and male Y-chromosome DNA from complex biomaterials. Although many such systems are commercially available, no system is capable of simultaneously quantifying all three targets in a single reaction. Most available methods either are not multiplex compatible or lack human specificity. Here, we report the development of a comprehensive set of human-specific, target-specific multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for DNA quantitation. Using TaqMan-MGB probes, our duplex qPCR for nDNA/mtDNA had a linear quantitation range of 100 ng to 1 pg, and our triplex qPCR assay for nDNA/mtDNA/male Y DNA had a linear range of 100-0.1 ng. Human specificity was demonstrated by the accurate detection of 0.05 and 5% human DNA from a complex source of starting templates. Target specificity was confirmed by the lack of cross-amplification among targets. A high-throughput alternative for human gender determination was also developed by multiplexing the male Y primer/probe set with an X-chromosome-based system. Background cross-amplification with DNA templates derived from 14 other species was negligible aside from the male Y assay which produced spurious amplifications from other nonhuman primate templates. Mainstream application of these assays will undoubtedly benefit forensic genomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, X
  • Chromosomes, Human, Y / genetics
  • DNA / analysis*
  • DNA / standards
  • DNA Fingerprinting / methods*
  • DNA Probes
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*


  • DNA Probes
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • DNA