(Received 16 January 2003; accepted 13 January 2003)
Published Online: 2003
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When the use of traditional forensic identification methods such as fingerprints or dental radiographs is difficult or impossible, identification by DNA analysis has proven valuable. In situations such as explosions or airplane crashes, identification is even more difficult because human remains are often fragmented and may be commingled. Teeth are a useful source of DNA and can often survive extreme environmental conditions. However, teeth may be fragmented into several identifiable regions. Therefore it is important to determine if DNA is present in forensically significant yields in all regions of the tooth. The main objectives of this study were to determine which region(s) of the tooth contains quantifiable DNA, if all regions contain similar yields of DNA and whether there is enough DNA in all regions to justify DNA extraction from a found tooth fragment. Results demonstrate that there is sufficient quantity of DNA in the crown body, root body, and root tip to support DNA extraction. Additionally, the root body is the region with the highest yield of DNA. This information will aid forensic DNA analysts in producing a useful DNA profile in a timely and cost-effective manner.
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