In this paper, we present a new algorithm for alignment and haplogroup estimation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences. Based on 26,011 vetted full mitogenome sequences, we refined the 5435 original haplogroup motifs of Phylotree Build 17 without changing the haplogroup nomenclature. We adapted 430 motifs (about 8%) and added 966 motifs for yet undetermined subclades. In summary, this led to an 18% increase of haplogroup defining motifs for full mitogenomes and a 30% increase for the mtDNA control region that is of interest for a variety of scientific disciplines, such as medical, population and forensic genetics. The new algorithm is implemented in the EMPOP mtDNA database and is freely accessible.
Keywords: alignment; haplogroup; mitochondrial DNA; phylogeny.