Date of Completion
Microvariant alleles, defined as alleles that contain an incomplete repeat unit, often complicate the process of DNA analysis. Understanding the molecular basis of microvariants would help to catalogue results and improve upon the analytical process involved in DNA testing. The first step is to determine the sequence/cause of a microvariant. This was done by sequencing samples that were determined to have a microvariant at the FGA or D21S11 loci. The results indicate that a .2 microvariant at the D21S11 locus is caused by a -TA- dinucleotide partial repeat before the last full TCTA repeat. The .2 microvariant at the FGA locus is caused by a -TT- dinucleotide partial repeat after the fifth full repeat and before the variable CTTT repeat motif. There are several possibilities for the reason the .2 microvariants are all the same at a locus, each of which carry implications on the forensic community. The first possibility is that the microvariants are identical by descent, which means that the microvariant is an old allele that has been passed down through the generations. The second possibility is that the microvariants are identical by state, which would mean that there is a mechanism selecting for these microvariants. Future research studying the flanking regions of these microvariants is proposed to determine which of these possibilities is the actual cause and to learn more about the molecular basis of microvariants.
McBeth, Molly, "A Study of the Molecular Basis of Microvariants at the FGA and D21S11 Loci Used in Forensic DNA Testing" (2006). Honors Scholar Theses. 14.