A method has been developed for the direct sequencing of hypervariable region 1 (HVI) of domestic dog (Canis familiaris) and wolf (Canis lupus) mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) using single hairs as template. The method uses a robotic work-station and an automated sequencer to allow for robust routine analysis. A population data base was created in order to investigate the forensic and population-genetic informativeness of domestic dog HVI. Sequence variation, partitioning of dog breeds among sequence variants and phylogenetic relations between the variants were determined. Samples from 102 domestic dogs of 52 different breeds and two captive wolves were analyzed. Nineteen dog-sequence variants were found and the frequencies of the variants ranged from 1 to 21%. The calculated discrimination power of the region, i.e., the exclusion capacity, implied that nine out of ten disputed individuals can be excluded by this analysis. The sequence variants were found to cluster into four phylogenetic groups.
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