Y chromosome STR typing in crime casework

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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.

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