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Forensic Genetic Approaches for Identification of Human Skeletal Remains

  • ID: 5137637
  • Book
  • March 2021
  • 500 Pages
  • Elsevier Science and Technology
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Forensic Genetic Approaches for Identification of Human Skeletal Remains: Challenges, Best Practices, and Emerging Technologies provides best practices on processing bone samples for DNA testing. The book outlines forensic genetics tools that are available for the identification of skeletal remains in contemporary casework and historical/archaeological investigations. Although the book focuses primarily on the use of DNA for direct identification or kinship analyses, it also highlights complementary disciplines often used in concert with genetic data to make positive identifications, such as forensic anthropology, forensic odontology, and forensic art/sculpting.

Unidentified human remains are often associated with tragic events, such as fires, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, war conflicts, genocide, airline crashes, homicide, and human rights violations under oppressive totalitarian regimes. In these situations, extensive damage to soft tissues often precludes the use of such biological samples in the identification process. In contrast, bone material is the most resilient, viable sample type for DNA testing. DNA recovered from bone often is degraded and in low quantities due to the effects of human decomposition, environmental exposure, and the passage of time. The complexities of bone microstructure and its rigid nature make skeletal remains one of the most challenging sample types for DNA testing.

  • Provides best practices on processing bone samples for DNA testing
  • Presents detailed coverage of proper facilities design for skeletal remains processing, selection of optimal skeletal elements for DNA recovery, specialized equipment needed, preparation and cleaning of bone samples for DNA extraction, and more
  • Highlights complementary disciplines often used in concert with genetic data to make positive identifications, such as forensic anthropology, forensic odontology, and forensic art/sculpting
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1. Introduction
2. Challenges to DNA Recovery from Skeletonized Remains
3. Collection, Packaging, and Transport of Human Skeletal Remains
4. Preparation of Human Skeletal Remains for DNA Testing
5. DNA Extraction Methods for Human Skeletal Remains
6. Quantification of DNA Recovered from Bone
7. Autosomal Short Tandem Repeats (STRs)
8. Lineage Markers
9. Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs)
10. Insertion/Deletions
11. Traditional Approaches
12. Alternative Strategies to Improve Data Recovery from Challenged Samples
13. Emerging Technologies for DNA Analysis of Challenged Samples
14. Low Copy Number (LCN) Interpretation
15. DNA Databases, Population Data, and Cataloging of Reference Samples
16. Direct Identification of Human Skeletal Remains
17. Kinship Analysis in the Absence of Direct Reference Samples
18. Bioinformatics Tools for Data Analysis
19. The Emerging Discipline of Forensic Genealogy
20. Forensic Anthropology
21. Pathological Conditions and Manifestations of Disease in Skeletal Remains
22. Forensic Odontology
23. Forensic Art and Sculpting
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Ambers, Angie
Dr. Angie Ambers received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of North Texas (UNT) with an emphasis in forensic genetics and human identification. Her dissertation involved an investigation of methods (e.g. whole genome amplification, DNA repair) for improving autosomal and Y-STR typing of degraded and low copy DNA from human skeletal remains and environmentally-damaged biological materials. Dr. Ambers also has master's degrees in Forensic Genetics from the University of North Texas Health Science Center and in Criminology from the University of Texas at Arlington. Her thesis research involved developing and optimizing a DNA-based multiplex screening tool for the separation of fragmented and commingled skeletal remains. Since 2005, Dr. Ambers has been an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas (teaching Genetics, Heredity, and Human Anatomy and Physiology). In 2008 she developed the curriculum for a course in Forensic Molecular Biology, in which she teaches DNA analysis/methodology to undergraduate students enrolled in the FEPAC-accredited forensic science certificate program. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, Dr. Ambers was lead DNA analyst and lab manager of UNT's DNA Sequencing Core Facility, and during that time had the opportunity to work on various ancient DNA projects involving archaeological specimens from Greenland. Her latest work has involved DNA testing of various historical human skeletal remains, including those of an American Civil War guerrilla scout, several Finnish World War II soldiers, and unidentified late-19th -century skeletal remains discovered in Deadwood, South Dakota. Dr. Ambers is currently an associate professor at the University of Newhaven's Forensic Science Department.
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