, Volume 109, Issue 4, pp 205-209

mtDNA as a tool for identification of human remains

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Abstract

Two cases are presented in order to emphasize the importance of mitochondrial DNA in forensic medicine. The first case involved a charred body which could not be identified by morphological means because of severe destruction of all tissues. The parallel use of PCR methods using genomic DNA and sequencing of the mitochondrial d-loop region produced unequivocal and reproducible results. In the second case, various parts of a highly decomposed body were investigated. The application of standard PCR methods for genomic DNA proved unsuitable to answer the question whether the body parts belonged to the same body. However, when sequencing of mitochondrial DNA segments amplified from tissue and bone samples was performed, clearly interpretable results were obtained.