Mitochondrial DNA analysis of the domestic dog: Control region variation within and among breeds

Rebekah L. Gundry, Marc W. Allard, Tamyra R. Moretti, Rodney L. Honeycutt, Mark R. Wilson, Keith L. Monson, David R. Foran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control regions of 125 domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) encompassing 43 breeds, as well as one coyote and two wolves were sequenced and subsequently examined for sequence variation in an effort to construct a reference dog mtDNA data set for forensic analysis. Forty informative variable sites were identified that described 45 haplotypes, 29 of which were observed only once. Substantial variation was found both within and among breeds in the mtDNA derived from tissue, indicating that analysis of the mtDNA derived from dog hairs could be a valuable, discriminating piece of evidence in forensic investigations. The dog data set single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) ranged from having one to six changes on a phylogenetic tree. On average, there were 1.9 character changes for each variable position on the tree. The most variable sites (with four or more changes each, listed from the most changes to the fewest) observed were 15,639 (L=6), 16,672 (L=5), 15,955 (L=4), 15,627 (L=3), 16,431 (L=3), and 16,439 (L=3). These sites were consistent with other reports on variable positions in the dog mtDNA genome. A total of 26 SNPs were chosen to best identify all major clusters in the domestic dog data set. The descriptive analyses revealed that this data set is similar to other published canine data sets and further demonstrates that this domestic dog data set is a useful resource for forensic applications. This reference data set has been compiled and validated against the published dog genetic literature with an aim to aid forensic investigations that seek to incorporate mtDNA sequences and SNPs from trace evidence such as dog hair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)562-572
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Canis familiaris
  • Control region
  • Domestic dog
  • Forensic science
  • Interbreed and intrabreed studies
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Sequence variation
  • Trace evidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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