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?
>
destroy
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. 




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