The Use of Bone Fluorescence to Facilitate DNA Sampling

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Theodora Eleftheriou
Aikaterini Papaioannou
Angi M. Christensen
Joseph T. Hefner


DNA is increasingly used in skeletal remains cases for identification and to resolve commingling. The implementation of a sampling strategy based on the likelihood of obtaining viable DNA profiles could minimize destruction of bones, expedite identification, and save time and resources by reducing the need to resample. Here we test whether bone fluorescence is a good indicator of potential DNA yield. Samples consisted of remains from seven different burial sites analyzed by the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus Anthropological Laboratory that were submitted for DNA analysis to an external DNA laboratory. Fluorescence was assessed as a function of pixel brightness values using images of bone and tooth samples captured using an alternate light source and measured in ImageJ. Across seven pooled sites, no relationship was apparent between fluorescence and DNA extracted, but there was a positive relationship when certain sites were considered in isolation. These results appear to suggest no overall relationship between fluorescence and DNA extracted; however, given the mixed nature of these results, additional research using a more controlled sample is needed.

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