Evaluation of macroscopic changes and the efficiency of DNA profiling from burnt teeth

Joe Adserias Garriga, Douglas H. Ubelaker, Sara C. Zapico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Identification of human remains subjected to incineration is extremely challenging. Our study evaluates the macroscopic changes and efficiency of DNA profiling in burnt teeth under controlled temperature and time conditions. 28 teeth were exposed to temperatures between 100 and 700 °C for a duration of 1–15 min. Two non-burnt teeth were used as control. Macroscopic changes were evaluated and recorded. DNA was extracted using a silica-based methodology. Efficiency of DNA profiling was assessed through Quantitative PCR for STRs. Burnt teeth reached chalky white appearance at 400 °C 5 min and fractures were observed from 300 °C 10 min. Amplification of STRs was very low from 300 °C and 1 or 5 min. In contrast, the housekeeping gene, GAPDH, was amplified in all combinations of temperatures and times. Although it is possible to amplify the housekeeping gene at high temperature, DNA profiling is difficult to obtain, probably due to small size of these regions making them more prone to degradation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-442
Number of pages6
JournalScience and Justice
Volume56
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

Keywords

  • Burnt teeth
  • DNA isolation
  • Forensic odontology
  • Housekeeping genes
  • Macroscopic changes
  • STR profiling

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