• Human identification;
  • Forensic;
  • Polymerase chain reaction;
  • DNA typing


DNA typing techniques are among the most advanced tools for human identification and can contribute to the identification of poorly preserved skeletal remains. Ten thousand people are thought to have been killed during the last dictatorship in Argentina (1976–1983) and there are few official records on the identity of the victims or the location of burials. A mass grave containing 340 skeletons was excavated using archeological methods. A small number of individuals was identified by traditional forensic methods and one family group by mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis. Due to the lack of antemortem physical information on many of the victims, the application of molecular methods is imperative to speed up the identification process. We have tested two molecular screening methods, Y chromosome-specific short tandem repeats (DYS19, DYS385, DYS389 I, DYS389 II, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392, DYS393) and amplification of autosomal microsatellites using nested primers. These methods can complement solely matrilineal mtDNA sequence data in the identification of “missing” persons.