An analysis of data curated from 5 years of identifying human remains

Robert W. Allen, Jane Pritchard, Jun Fu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


An archive of 5 years of cases involving the identification of human remains was curated, collecting information on: The sample type submitted, the number of STR loci yielding interpretable results, the kinship challenge posed, and the outcome for the case. A total of 129 cases of remains ID were investigated using manual DNA extraction and recovery methods with amplification of STR markers using the Power Plex 21 multiplex STR kit from Promega Corp. In 52 cases, blood spots collected by the ME were provided as sample and in 100% of those cases, probabilities of relatedness to the reference samples was ≥99%. In 77 cases, tissue other than blood was provided as a source of DNA. These other samples were grouped categorically into long bones (femur and tibia; 40 cases), skull bones/teeth (11 cases), other bones (16 cases), and tissue (normally adherent to bone) (10 cases). Reference samples provided for cases included alleged parents or child(ren) of the victim (86 cases), alleged full siblings of the victim (38 cases), or alleged second-order relatives (five cases). The overall success rate in confirming the identity of the source of the remains in these cases was 89.2%. Our results demonstrate that a laboratory can be often successful identifying human remains using methods easily implemented in any DNA typing laboratory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-620
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • DNA extraction
  • STR typing
  • human remains
  • kinship testing
  • skeletal elements
  • testing outcomes


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