Human identification by genotyping of personal articles

Forensic Sci Int. 1997 Nov 10;90(1-2):65-75. doi: 10.1016/s0379-0738(97)00150-3.


In cases of personal identification of unknown skeletal remains, forensic scientists normally analyze an individual's genotype or phenotype by comparison with those of other family members such as patients. However, such genotyping does not necessarily provide conclusive proof of identity. In this study, we attempted personal identification by comparison of several short tandem repeat (STR) loci in samples from three corpses in various stages of decomposition with samples from personal articles of the respective individuals. The first victim had been found dead in a burned car. Almost 100% of his body was charred. The genotypes of the iliac bone from the burned body with regard to several STR loci were compared with those from a single hair recovered from the vacuum cleaner from the candidate's home. The second victim was found in a forest after more than 5 years. Several STR loci genotypes of skeletal bone were compared with those of the candidate's mummified umbilical cord kept in his parent's house. In the last case the victim was found in the sea after more than 7 months. The genotypes of the loci in the pubic bone of the corpse were compared with those of a menstrual bloodstain on the candidate's underwear left in the washing machine at her home. We succeeded in identification of the three cases by comparison of several VNTR and STR loci in the corpses with those in personal articles. In conclusion, personal identification can sometimes be performed more precisely by genotyping of personal articles than by comparison with the genotypes of relatives.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Stains*
  • Bone and Bones / chemistry*
  • Clothing
  • DNA Fingerprinting / methods*
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Hair / chemistry*
  • Household Articles
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minisatellite Repeats
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Umbilical Cord / chemistry*