Forensic DNA testing on skeletal remains from mass graves: a pilot project in Guatemala

J Forensic Sci. 1995 May;40(3):349-55.


A reliable method for extracting DNA from teeth was developed and successfully applied to a set of 12 skeletons recovered from two 10-year-old Guatemalan mass graves. Attempts to identify the remains by mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing were hampered by low sequence diversity. Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of using DNA typing to identify victims from mass graves.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / analysis*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Forensic Anthropology / methods*
  • Guatemala
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pilot Projects
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Tooth / chemistry*


  • DNA, Mitochondrial