Comparison of morphological and molecular genetic sex-typing on mediaeval human skeletal remains

Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2013 Dec;7(6):581-586. doi: 10.1016/j.fsigen.2013.05.005. Epub 2013 Aug 12.


Archaeological excavations conducted at an early mediaeval cemetery in Volders (Tyrol, Austria) produced 141 complete skeletal remains dated between the 5th/6th and 12th/13th centuries. These skeletons represent one of the largest historical series of human remains ever discovered in the East Alpine region. Little historical information is available for this region and time period. The good state of preservation of these bioarchaeological finds offered the opportunity of performing molecular genetic investigations. Adequate DNA extraction methods were tested in the attempt to obtain as high DNA yields as possible for further analyses. Molecular genetic sex-typing using a dedicated PCR multiplex ("Genderplex") gave interpretable results in 88 remains, 78 of which had previously been sexed based on morphological features. We observed a discrepancy in sex determination between the two methods in 21 cases. An unbiased follow-up morphological examination of these finds showed congruence with the DNA results in all but five samples.

Keywords: Amelogenin; DNA quantification; Forensic archaeology; Molecular genetic sex-typing; SRY; X chromosomal short tandem repeats.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Archaeology
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA Primers
  • Female
  • Fossils*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sex Determination by Skeleton*


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA