Forensic Sci Int. 2000 Sep 11;113(1-3):113-8.

Mitochondrial DNA in the Central European population. Human identification with the help of the forensic mt-DNA D-loop-base database.

Wittig H, Augustin C, Baasner A, Bulnheim U, Dimo-Simonin N, Edelmann J, Hering S, Jung S, Lutz S, Michael M, Parson W, Poetsch M, Schneider PM, Weichhold G, Krause D.

Institute of Forensic Medicine, Otto von Guericke University, Leipziger Str. 44, 39120, Magdeburg, Germany.

Sequencing of mtDNA is an advanced method for the individualisation of traces. Disadvantages of this method are expensive and time-consuming analysis and evaluation procedures as well as the necessary stock of population-genetic data which is still insufficient. Central European institutes of forensic medicine from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland have been working together since the beginning of 1998 to establish a mtDNA database. The aim is to build up a large stock of forensically established data and provide population-genetic data for frequency investigations, which will serve as a basis for expert opinions and scientific research. Good data quality is ensured by using original sequences only. Ring tests, which have been conducted to enhance analytical reliability, revealed a high correspondence rate of the analytical results obtained by the individual member institutes. Today 1410 sequences are available for comparison, of which 1285 sequences in the HV1 and HV2 regions cover the full ranges from 16051 to 16365 and from 73 to 340 (according to Anderson). The major part is formed by Central European sequences comprising 1256 data sets from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Today the database contains sequences from a total of 12 European, six African and three Asian countries including 100 sequences from Japan. This paper is aimed at discussing the individualisation potentials of mtDNA as well as the possibilities and limits of ethnic differentiation by means of pairwise sequence differences on the basis of the data stock available.