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The effect of individual characteristics on forensic DNA evidence from human teeth Gaytmenn, Roshale

Abstract

Teeth have been widely recognized as a valuable source of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) evidence in severely decomposed bodies. The highly mineralized enamel structure provides protection to DNA-rich cells located in the tooth, even in cases of exposure to harsh environmental conditions or extreme heat caused by fires. Forensic DNA analysts often must decide from which tooth to attempt DNA extraction. No research has previously been performed to determine which adult teeth contain the most DNA, or if all permanent teeth have an adequate amount of DNA to warrant DNA extraction. Additionally, the anatomical location of DNA in the tooth is valuable information when deciding whether or not to perform DNA analysis on a found tooth fragment. Class of tooth, anatomical region of tooth and age of donor were analyzed to determine average DNA concentration. The results indicate that molars are the tooth class richest in DNA and the root body is the anatomical region with the highest concentration of DNA. Additionally, age plays a role in the amount of recoverable DNA, although in what capacity still needs to be determined. This information will aid forensic DNA analysts in producing a useful DNA profile in a timely and cost-effective manner.

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