DNA question

Mr. G. Morley gmorley at hgmp.mrc.ac.uk
Tue Aug 4 10:02:08 EST 1998

In article <Pine.OSF.3.93.980804121847.13968C-100000 at sparrow.qut.edu.au>,
  BELINDA PARIS <n1579525 at sparrow.qut.edu.au> wrote:
> I don't know if this is the correct place to post this question, but here
> goes:
> If somebody spontaneously combusts, is it possible to determine from the
> pile of ashes left, if they were human, or anything about that person by
> DNA or some other technique. e.g. is mitochondrial dna useful?
Most cases of (human) spontaneous combustion  rarely 100% of the body
 (to my knowledge) there is always some bones and tissue left. 
However there was such a case where combustion was 100% complete I
 should imagine it would be possible
to work out the approximate size of the combustee by examining the amount
of debris (ie: minerals and ash) that remained. 
Recent advances in forensic PCR (which can get a DNA finger print from
a single cell), suggests that a DNA profile can be obtained merely from 
swabbing down and PCR'ing surfaces that bare skin may have come into 
contact with.. I don t h ave a refference for this .. it was on a TV
documentary about forensic pathology (Bit too late for OJ's gloves on this one)
Hence, examination of the environment in which the remains were found
might give further clues. 

More information about the Bioforum mailing list