Mitochondrial DNA sequencing of cat hair: an informative forensic tool

J Forensic Sci. 2011 Jan;56 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S36-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2010.01592.x. Epub 2010 Nov 15.


Approximately 81.7 million cats are in 37.5 million U.S. households. Shed fur can be criminal evidence because of transfer to victims, suspects, and/or their belongings. To improve cat hairs as forensic evidence, the mtDNA control region from single hairs, with and without root tags, was sequenced. A dataset of a 402-bp control region segment from 174 random-bred cats representing four U.S. geographic areas was generated to determine the informativeness of the mtDNA region. Thirty-two mtDNA mitotypes were observed ranging in frequencies from 0.6-27%. Four common types occurred in all populations. Low heteroplasmy, 1.7%, was determined. Unique mitotypes were found in 18 individuals, 10.3% of the population studied. The calculated discrimination power implied that 8.3 of 10 randomly selected individuals can be excluded by this region. The genetic characteristics of the region and the generated dataset support the use of this cat mtDNA region in forensic applications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats / genetics*
  • DNA Fingerprinting / veterinary*
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Hair / chemistry*
  • Haplotypes
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / veterinary*
  • United States


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Mitochondrial