A mitochondrial-based microarray (mitoArray) was developed for rapid identification of the presence of 28 animals and one family (cervidae) potentially implicated in fecal pollution in mixed activity watersheds. Oligonucleotide probes for genus or subfamily-level identification were targeted within the 12S rRNA - Val tRNA - 16S rRNA region in the mitochondrial genome. This region, called MI-50, was selected based on three criteria: 1) the ability to be amplified by universal primers 2) these universal primer sequences are present in most commercial and domestic animals of interest in source tracking, and 3) that sufficient sequence variation exists within this region to meet the minimal requirements for microarray probe discrimination. To quantify the overall level of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in samples, a quantitative-PCR (Q-PCR) universal primer pair was also developed. Probe validation was performed using DNA extracted from animal tissues and, for many cases, animal-specific fecal samples. To reduce the amplification of potentially interfering fish mtDNA sequences during the MI-50 enrichment step, a clamping PCR method was designed using a fish-specific peptide nucleic acid. DNA extracted from 19 water samples were subjected to both array and independent PCR analyses. Our results confirm that the mitochondrial microarray approach method could accurately detect the dominant animals present in water samples emphasizing the potential for this methodology in the parallel scanning of a large variety of animals normally monitored in fecal source tracking.
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