May 28, 2011

Rapidly mutating Y-STR panel

This should also be of interest to genealogists, as the ability to tell apart very closely related individuals is essential to proving a genealogical link, rather than a more general link of an individual to a broader patrilineal kinship group.

Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2011 May 23. [Epub ahead of print]

A new future of forensic Y-chromosome analysis: Rapidly mutating Y-STRs for differentiating male relatives and paternal lineages.

Ballantyne KN, Keerl V, Wollstein A, Choi Y, Zuniga SB, Ralf A, Vermeulen M, de Knijff P, Kayser M.

Abstract

The panels of 9-17 Y-chromosomal short tandem repeats (Y-STRs) currently used in forensic genetics have adequate resolution of different paternal lineages in many human populations, but have lower abilities to separate paternal lineages in populations expressing low Y-chromosome diversity. Moreover, current Y-STR sets usually fail to differentiate between related males who belong to the same paternal lineage and, as a consequence, conclusions cannot be drawn on the individual level as is desirable for forensic interpretations. Recently, we identified a new panel of rapidly mutating (RM) Y-STRs, composed of 13 markers with mutation rates above 1×10(-2), whereas most Y-STRs, including all currently used in forensics, have mutation rates in the order of 1×10(-3) or lower. In the present study, we demonstrate in 604 unrelated males sampled from 51 worldwide populations (HGDP-CEPH) that the RM Y-STRs provide substantially higher haplotype diversity and haplotype discrimination capacity (with only 3 haplotypes shared between 8 of the 604 worldwide males), than obtained with the largest set of 17 currently used Y-STRs (Yfiler) in the same samples (33 haplotypes shared between 85 males). Hence, RM Y-STRs yield high-resolution paternal lineage differentiation and provide a considerable improvement compared to Yfiler. We also find in this worldwide dataset substantially less genetic population substructure within and between geographic regions with RM Y-STRs than with Yfiler Y-STRs. Furthermore, with the present study we provide enhanced data evidence that the RM Y-STR panel is extremely successful in differentiating between closely and distantly related males. Among 305 male relatives, paternally connected by 1-20 meiotic transfers in 127 independent pedigrees, we show that 66% were separated by mutation events with the RM Y-STR panel whereas only 15% were with Yfiler; hence, RM Y-STRs provide a statistically significant 4.4-fold increase of average male relative differentiation relative to Yfiler. The RM Y-STR panel is powerful enough to separate closely related males; nearly 50% of the father and sons, and 60% of brothers could be distinguished with RM Y-STRs, whereas only 7.7% and 8%, respectively, with Yfiler. Thus, by introducing RM Y-STRs to the forensic genetic community we provide important solutions to several of the current limitations of Y chromosome analysis in forensic genetics.

Link

2 comments:

Arya.dharma said...

Good work, can it be used to know the R1a1a*s origins?

DNACousins said...

There's an open-access paper with more background on the RM set of markers:

http://www.cell.com/AJHG/retrieve/pii/S0002929710004192

@arya.dharma -- RM markers are the opposite of what you need for haplogroup origins (they show "LESS population substructure"). They're more useful for distinguishing between close relatives.