- SPECIALIST DNA SERVICESInnovative services from Cellmark
- HIGH SENSITIVITY DNAA more sensitive form of DNA analysis
- MITOCHONDRIAL DNAUseful for bones, hair and degraded samples
- Y-STR DNA PROFILINGMale specific DNA analysis
- ANIMAL SPECIES TESTINGIdentifying species by mitochondrial sequencing
- COLD CASE REVIEW SERVICEUnlocking the secrets of unsolved crime
- SEXUAL OFFENCE INVESTIGATIONA specialist service that delivers results
Cellmark’s scientists provide a forensic quality mitochondrial DNA sequencing service accredited to ISO17025.
Mitochondrial DNA sequencing is a very useful forensic technique for analysing biological samples where a standard (nuclear) STR result cannot be produced, such as a hair without a root, or an ancient bone sample, or where the aim is to support or exclude an ancestral maternal relationship across several generations.
Mitochondria are small sub-cellular bodies that are the site of energy production in cells. Each cell contains many hundreds or thousands of mitochondria, each containing a small circular loop of DNA. Because there are multiple copies of mitochondrial DNA present in each cell it is often retained in old samples and samples where the nuclear DNA has been destroyed or degraded.
The analysis is more complex and lengthy than routine STR analysis and because it is one of the most sensitive types of forensic DNA testing special precautions need to be taken in the laboratory.
The DNA in mitochondria, like the DNA in the nucleus of the cell, differs between individuals and it can therefore be used for forensic identification, but it is far less statistically informative than nuclear STR analysis. Because mitochondrial DNA is inherited exclusively from an individual's mother, it can be very useful for linking female relatives.