Anthropology, University of Tennessee
Friday All day, Clinch Concourse
It is commonly assumed that once forensic skeletal remains have been x-rayed it is not possible to recover intact DNA because X-rays are known to destroy cells and DNA. The body of a living organism maintains the ability to repair or replace damaged DNA and cells. Once deceased, however, all bodily cell and DNA repair functions cease so that any human remains exposed to X-rays will have damaged DNA unsuitable for forensic DNA analysis. In order to show whether or not DNA markers can be reliably extracted, PCR amplified, and typed from bone that has been X-rayed, teeth from ten individuals have been sampled and analyzed in a control and an experimental group. The 13 core CODIS STR markers have been used to derive an STR profile for each sample. STR profiles of the same individual across groups have been compared to determine if X-rays prohibit obtaining full and accurate profiles of DNA extracted from skeletal remains. The results of this research will explore these assumptions about DNA damage from X-rays and show if this kind of irradiation makes CODIS markers unobtainable from skeletal material.
Funding provided by the University of Tennessee Bass Endowment Fund.