DNA extraction from buried corpse

bentley atchison bentleya at vifp.monash.edu.au
Sun Jun 22 19:12:29 EST 1997

We extract DNA from human bones using a variation of the Chelex method
(Walsh et al (1991) Biotechniques 10, 506).  This is too long to send by
email but let me know if you want the protocol.  Other methods are based
on phenol extraction and are very long procedures (see eg., Hagelberg &
Clegg (1991) Proc. Royal Society London B 244, 45).  The femoral head is
the best source of DNA.

DNA can be obtained from muscle tissue by digestion with proteinase K
and phenol extraction (see Budowle et al (1990) J. Forensic Sciences 35,
530 for extraction from blood but can be used for muscle).

Our experience is that PCR of nuclear DNA can be done on bone up to
about 5 years after burial (less with tissue).  This will vary with the
temperature and type of burial ( The Czars of Russia were analysed 70
years after death - presumably they were frozen most of the year).

Good luck,
Dr. Bentley Atchison
Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine
57 Kavanagh St, Southbank
Melbourne, AUSTRALIA 3006
Email bentleya at vifp.monash.edu.au

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