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Analysis of human mitochondrial DNA sequences from fecally polluted environmental waters as a tool to study population diversity
Kapoor, V., M. Elk, C. Toledo-Hernandez, AND J. Santodomingo. Analysis of human mitochondrial DNA sequences from fecally polluted environmental waters as a tool to study population diversity. AIMS Environmental Science. AIMS Press, Springfield, MO, 4(3):443-455, (2017). https://doi.org/10.3934/environsci.2017.3.443
Mitochondrial signature sequences have frequently been used to study the demographics of many different populations around the world, however, acquiring samples can be difficult. The purpose of this study was to analyze human mitochondrial sequences to examine the population diversity of people living near a watershed. This work is important for stakeholders such as communities, states, regions, planners, and others implementing good management practices to improve microbial water quality or impaired waters.
Mitochondrial signature sequences have frequently been used to study the demographics of many different populations around the world. Traditionally, this requires obtaining samples directly from individuals which is cumbersome, time consuming and limited to the number of individuals that participated in these types of surveys. Here, we sought to determine the presence and sequence diversity of human mitochondrial sequences directly from DNA extracts as a means to study the demographics of populations inhabiting areas nearby a tropical watershed impacted with fecal pollution. We used next generation sequencing (Illumina) and barcoding to obtain thousands of sequences from the mitochondrial HVR2 region and determine the different haplotypes present in 10 different water samples. Sequence analyses indicated a total of 19 distinct variants with frequency greater than 5%. The HVR2 sequences were associated with halogroups West Eurasian (57.6 %), Sub-Saharan African (23.9 %), and American Indian (10.6 %) ancestry, which was in relative accordance with census data from the towns surrounding the sampling sites. The results from this study demonstrate the potential value of mitochondrial sequence data retrieved from fecally impacted tropical waters to study the human demographics of local municipalities. This environmental DNA approach may also have other public health implications. It may be possible to expand this approach to other animal species inhabiting or having access to natural water systems.