Original Research

The use of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)-investigations in Forensic Sciences

S. Dawson, C. Weitz, M. J. Pitout
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 15, No 2 | a635 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v15i2.635 | © 1996 S. Dawson, C. Weitz, M. J. Pitout | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 July 1996 | Published: 10 July 1996

About the author(s)

S. Dawson,, South Africa
C. Weitz,, South Africa
M. J. Pitout,, South Africa

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Abstract

A variety of methods was developed to characterize mtDNA. The initial aim of these techniques was to try and link diseases with specific mitochondrial defects. As a result of the maternal inheritance trait of mtDNA these techniques facilitate studies of the phylogenetic history and population structure of the human population. It has been shown that mitochondrial DNA typing can be of great value for human identification in forensic cases. The identification of victims of mass-disasters or mass-murders, where human remains can be recovered only after many years have passed, is one of the most challenging fields of forensic identification. By using automated DNA sequencing with fluorescent labels, mitochondrial DNA sequences can be generated rapidly and accurately. Computer software facilitates the rapid comparison of individual and reference sequences.

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