A forensic genotyping panel of 11 tetranucleotide STR loci from the domestic cat was characterized and evaluated for genetic individualization of cat tissues. We first examined 49 candidate STR loci and their frequency assessment in domestic cat populations. The STR loci (3–4 base pair repeat motifs), mapped in the cat genome relative to 579 coding loci and 255 STR loci, are well distributed across the 18 feline autosomes. All loci exhibit Mendelian inheritance in a multi-generation pedigree. Eleven loci that were unlinked and were highly heterozygous in cat breeds were selected for a forensic panel. Heterozygosity values obtained for the independent loci, ranged from 0.60–0.82, while the average cat breed heterozygosity obtained for the 11 locus panel was 0.71 (range of 0.57–0.83). A small sample set of outbred domestic cats displayed a heterozygosity of 0.86 for the 11 locus panel. The power of discrimination of the panel is moderate to high in the cat breeds examined, with an average Pm of 3.7E-06. The panel shows good potential for genetic individualization within outbred domestic cats with a Pm of 5.31E-08. A multiplex protocol, designed for the co-amplification of the 11 loci and a gender-identifying locus, is species specific and robust, generating a product profile with as little as 0.125 nanograms of genomic DNA.
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