We provide experimental evidence showing that, during the restriction- enzyme digestion of DNA samples, some of the HaeIII-digested DNA fragments are small enough to prevent their reliable sizing on a Southern gel. As a result of such nondetectability of DNA fragments, individuals who show a single-band DNA profile at a VNTR locus may not necessarily be true homozygotes. In a population database, when the presence of such nondetectable alleles is ignored, we show that a pseudodependence of alleles within as well as across loci may occur. Using a known statistical method, under the hypothesis of independence of alleles within loci, we derive an efficient estimate of null allele frequency, which may be subsequently used for testing allelic independence within and across loci. The estimates of null allele frequencies, thus derived, are shown to agree with direct experimental data on the frequencies of HaeIII-null alleles. Incorporation of null alleles into the analysis of the forensic VNTR database suggests that the assumptions of allelic independence within and between loci are appropriate. In contrast, a failure to incorporate the occurrence of null alleles would provide a wrong inference regarding the independence of alleles within and between loci.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||American Journal of Human Genetics|
|State||Published - 11 Aug 1994|