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Electrophoresis. 2008 Dec;29(23):4780-7. doi: 10.1002/elps.200800107.

Determination of cis/trans phase of variations in the MC1R gene with allele-specific PCR and single base extension.

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  • 1Section of Forensic Genetics, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. jonas.mengel@forensic.ku.dk


The MC1R gene encodes a protein with key regulatory functions in the melanin synthesis. A multiplex PCR and a multiplex single base extension protocol were established for genotyping six exonic MC1R variations highly penetrant for red hair (R), four exonic MC1R variations weakly penetrant for red hair (r), two frameshift variations highly penetrant for red hair (R) and three variations in the promoter region. We genotyped 600 individuals from Denmark using either CE or MALDI-TOF MS as the detection platform. A total of 62 individuals were genotyped R/R and among the 62 individuals, 57 had red hair and five had blond hair colour. Two different R alleles may be located in cis (RR/-) position or trans (R/R) position, and the phenotype associated with RR/- and R/R may be different. Two allele-specific PCRs were established with primers targeting the -G445A variation in the MC1R promoter and the allele-specific PCR products were used in the multiplex single base extension assay. In all 62 individuals, the MC1R variants were situated in trans position. Another 18 individuals with red hair colour were either genotyped R/- or R/r, suggesting that other genes influence hair colour.

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