Y chromosome STR typing in crime casework

  • Lutz Roewer


Since the beginning of the nineties the field of forensic Y chromosome analysis has been successfully developed to become commonplace in laboratories working in crime casework all over the world. The ability to identify male-specific DNA renders highly variable Y-chromosomal polymorphisms, the STR sequences, an invaluable addition to the standard panel of autosomal loci used in forensic genetics. The male-specificity makes the Y chromosome especially useful in cases of male/female cell admixture, namely in sexual assault cases. On the other hand, the haploidy and patrilineal inheritance complicates the interpretation of a Y-STR match, because male relatives share for several generations an identical Y-STR profile. Since paternal relatives tend to live in the geographic and cultural territory of their ancestors, the Y chromosome analysis has a potential to make inferences on the population of origin of a given DNA profile. This review addresses the fields of application of Y chromosome haplotyping, the interpretation of results, databasing efforts and population genetics aspects.


Y chromosome Y-STR Crime casework Haplotyping DNA mixture analysis Match probability Population genetics Population databases Intelligence information 



The author wish to thank all colleagues of the Forensic Y Chromosome User Group for their work on the YHRD database project. Sascha Willuweit (YHRD Curator, Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences Berlin, Germany) is greatly acknowledged for his contribution to this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forensic Genetics, Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic SciencesCharité - Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany

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