Whole mitochondrial genome genetic diversity in an Estonian population sample


Mitochondrial DNA is a useful marker for population studies, human identification, and forensic analysis. Commonly used hypervariable regions I and II (HVI/HVII) were reported to contain as little as 25 % of mitochondrial DNA variants and therefore the majority of power of discrimination of mitochondrial DNA resides in the coding region. Massively parallel sequencing technology enables entire mitochondrial genome sequencing. In this study, buccal swabs were collected from 114 unrelated Estonians and whole mitochondrial genome sequences were generated using the Illumina MiSeq system. The results are concordant with previous mtDNA control region reports of high haplogroup HV and U frequencies (47.4 and 23.7 % in this study, respectively) in the Estonian population. One sample with the Northern Asian haplogroup D was detected. The genetic diversity of the Estonian population sample was estimated to be 99.67 and 95.85 %, for mtGenome and HVI/HVII data, respectively. The random match probability for mtGenome data was 1.20 versus 4.99 % for HVI/HVII. The nucleotide mean pairwise difference was 27 ± 11 for mtGenome and 7 ± 3 for HVI/HVII data. These data describe the genetic diversity of the Estonian population sample and emphasize the power of discrimination of the entire mitochondrial genome over the hypervariable regions.

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We would like to thank the Baltic American Freedom Foundation and Council of International Educational Exchange for providing the opportunity for the professional internship of Monika Stoljarova at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

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Correspondence to Monika Stoljarova.

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Stoljarova, M., King, J.L., Takahashi, M. et al. Whole mitochondrial genome genetic diversity in an Estonian population sample. Int J Legal Med 130, 67–71 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00414-015-1249-4

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  • Mitochondrial genome (mtGenome)
  • Massively parallel sequencing (MPS)
  • Illumina MiSeq
  • Haplogroup
  • Estonia
  • Power of discrimination