Mobile element-based forensic genomics

David A. Ray, Jerilyn A. Walker, Mark A. Batzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Mobile elements are commonly referred to as selfish repetitive DNA sequences. However, mobile elements represent a unique and underutilized group of molecular markers. Several of their characteristics make them ideally suited for use as tools in forensic genomic applications. These include their nature as essentially homoplasy-free characters, they are identical by descent, the ancestral state of any insertion is known to be the absence of the element, and many mobile element insertions are lineage specific. In this review, we provide an overview of mobile element biology and describe the application of certain mobile elements, especially the SINEs and other retrotransposons, to forensic genomics. These tools include quantitative species-specific DNA detection, analysis of complex biomaterials, and the inference of geographic origin of human DNA samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-33
Number of pages10
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007


  • Forensic genomics
  • Mobile element
  • SINEs


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