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Open Access Highly Accessed Methodology article

Diagnostic polymorphisms in the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene allow discrimination between cattle, sheep, goat, roe buck and deer by PCR-RFLP

Ina Pfeiffer1, Joachim Burger2 and Bertram Brenig1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Groner Landstrasse 2, D-37073 Göttingen, Germany

2 Institute of Anthropology, Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz, Colonel Kleinmann Weg 2, D-55099 Mainz, Germany

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BMC Genetics 2004, 5:30  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-5-30

Published: 5 October 2004



As an alternative to direct DNA sequencing of PCR products, random PCR-RFLP is an efficient technique to discriminate between species. The PCR-RFLP-method is an inexpensive tool in forensic science, even if the template is degraded or contains only traces of DNA from various species.


Interspecies-specific DNA sequence polymorphisms in the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene were analyzed using PCR-RFLP technology to determine the source (i.e., species) of blood traces obtained from a leaf.


The method presented can be used for the discrimination of cattle (Bos taurus), sheep (Ovis aries), goat (Capra hircus), roe buck (Capreolus capreolus) and red deer (Cervus elaphus).