Fredericks, Jamie Daniel, Bennett, Phil, Williams, Anna and Rogers, Keith Derek (2012) FTIR spectroscopy: A new diagnostic tool to aid DNA analysis from heated bone. Forensic Science International: Genetics, 6 (3). pp. 375-380. ISSN 1872-4973

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) extracted from skeletal tissue can be invaluable in genetic profiling applications, as it is often the only source available. Like all forensic samples, skeletal tissue may have been exposed to a variety of environmental insults, including heat. This study has focussed upon characterising changes in the material properties of bone that has been compromised by controlled heat treatments. These changes were then examined in relation to the subsequent success or failure of nuclear DNA (nDNA) amplification, using a range of differently sized amplicons, relevant to alternate profiling strategies. The results presented demonstrate that the ability to amplify nDNA correlates well with particular changes in mineral and organic content of bone. As such, we propose the application of a ‘diagnostic triage tool’ that can be performed quickly and at low cost on individual bone samples, in order to determine whether nDNA analysis is likely to be a viable option.

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