Using Biological Profile Data to Inform a DNA Sequencing Strategy

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Carrie Brown
Jeffrey James Lynch


Frequency distributions of antemortem stature and age for individuals who were casualties onboard the USS Oklahoma are visually compared to frequency distributions of point estimates for long bone stature and pubic symphysis age drawn from the large commingled assemblage that is associated with this loss incident. Based on similarities in the means and standard deviations of these distributions, a four-tiered DNA sequencing strategy is devised to prioritize the sampling of elements that are at least one standard deviation from Oklahoma antemortem mean age and/or stature. The rationale for this approach is that elements providing estimates that are at least one standard deviation from antemortem stature and/or age means are more likely to be from individuals who also fall at least one standard deviation from the means for one or both of these categories. This prioritization strategy resulted in nearly doubling identifications during the initial phases of the project. This success demonstrates the ability to use biological profile data to aid in the DNA sequencing process and the importance of continued interdisciplinary work in resolving commingled assemblages.

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