Typing of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) extracted from compact bone from human remains

M. N. Hochmeister, B. Budowle, U. V. Borer, U. Eggmann, C. T. Comey, R. Dirnhofer

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The application of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) typing methods for the potential identification of unknown human remains was investigated. DNA was isolated from compact bone tissue from badly decomposed bodies and from known and unknown human remains, using a decalcification and ion wash procedure. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) loci yielded results in some cases, but more often the DNA was too degraded to produce RFLP patterns. No RFLP profiles could be obtained from purified soft tissues. However, DNA extracted from compact bone tissue of human remains up to eleven years old was successfully amplified using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the VNTR loci D1S80, D17S5, COL2A1, and APO B, as well as the HLA-DQ alpha locus. This is especially significant, since PCR results were obtained from those samples whose DNA had been degraded substantially and had yielded no RFLP patterns. All DNA types determined from the compact bone tissue from decomposed bodies whose identification had been established first by other means (and whose parents or offspring were available for typing) demonstrated mendelian inheritance of the alleles of the loci analyzed. These results suggest that amplification and typing of DNA extracted from compact bone of human remains could be useful in establishing the identity of a person, as well as in excluding possible false identifications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1649-1661
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1991


  • compact bone tissue
  • deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
  • forensic science
  • genetic typing
  • human identification
  • paternity testing
  • polymerase chain reaction (PCR)


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