SNP Miniplexes for Individual Identification of Random-Bred Domestic Cats*

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Abstract

Phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of the cat can be obtained from single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) analyses of fur. This study developed miniplexes using SNPs with high discriminating power for random-bred domestic cats, focusing on individual and phenotypic identification. Seventy-eight SNPs were investigated using a multiplex PCR followed by a fluorescently labeled single base extension (SBE) technique (SNaPshot®). The SNP miniplexes were evaluated for reliability, reproducibility, sensitivity, species specificity, detection limitations, and assignment accuracy. Six SNPplexes were developed containing 39 intergenic SNPs and 26 phenotypic SNPs, including a sex identification marker, ZFXY. The combined random match probability (cRMP) was 6.58 × 10−19 across all Western cat populations and the likelihood ratio was 1.52 × 1018. These SNPplexes can distinguish individual cats and their phenotypic traits, which could provide insight into crime reconstructions. A SNP database of 237 cats from 13 worldwide populations is now available for forensic applications.

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