Bone Extractions and NextGen Sequencing

The identification of remains that have been discovered after an extended period of time is an important part of forensic science. IMG_4214 These types of remains often contain DNA that is highly fragmented and present in smaller amounts, making analysis difficult. Developments with next generation sequencing have increased our ability to look at more targets of DNA at a single time, potentially helping improve our identification capacity for these types of remains by looking at both SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms and STRs (Short Tandem Repeats).  Current extraction methods from bone, however, are targeted for recovering longer fragments (those used for STR testing), leaving behind pieces that may still be viable for SNP analysis. This project is focused on identifying a protocol that will increase the recovery of DNA from bone samples overall, especially shorter fragments.  Our findings were published in the International Journal of Legal Medicine (Zavala et al, 2019).