Investigation of single nucleotide polymorphism loci susceptible to degradation by ultraviolet light

J Forensic Leg Med. 2016 Oct:43:120-125. doi: 10.1016/j.jflm.2016.08.002. Epub 2016 Aug 12.


DNA in biological fluids is often degraded by environmental factors. Given that single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses require shorter amplicons than short tandem repeat (STR) analyses do, their use in human identification using degraded samples has recently attracted attention. Although various SNP loci are used to analyze degraded samples, it is unclear which ones are more appropriate. To characterize and identify SNP loci that are susceptible or resistant to degradation, we artificially degraded DNA, obtained from buccal swabs from 11 volunteers, by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light for different durations (254 nm for 5, 15, 30, 60, or 120 min) and analyzed the resulting SNP loci. DNA degradation was assessed using gel electrophoresis, STR, and SNP profiling. DNA fragmentation occurred within 5 min of UV irradiation, and successful STR and SNP profiling decreased with increasing duration. However, 73% of SNP loci were still detected correctly in DNA samples irradiated for 120 min, a dose that rendered STR loci undetectable. The unsuccessful SNP typing and the base call failure of nucleotides neighboring the SNPs were traced to rs1031825, and we found that this SNP was susceptible to UV light. When comparing the detection efficiencies of STR and SNP loci, SNP typing was more successful than STR typing, making it effective when using degraded DNA. However, it is important to use rs1031825 with caution when interpreting SNP analyses of degraded DNA.

Keywords: Degraded DNA; Short tandem repeat; Single nucleotide polymorphism; Ultraviolet irradiation.

MeSH terms

  • DNA Degradation, Necrotic / radiation effects*
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • DNA Fragmentation / radiation effects
  • Electrophoresis
  • Humans
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / radiation effects*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*