The Application of Miniplex Primer Sets in the Analysis of Degraded DNA from Human Skeletal Remains

Authors

  • Kerry L. Opel M.A.,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida International University, University Park, 11200 SW, FL 33199.
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  • Denise T. Chung Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Ohio University, 136 Clippinger Laboratories, Athens, OH 45701.
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    • 5 Present Address: Center for Neurological Diseases, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Institutes of Medicine, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur Room, Boston, MA 02115-5817.

  • Jiří Drábek Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Ohio University, 136 Clippinger Laboratories, Athens, OH 45701.
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    • 6 Present Address: Palacky University, Department of Biochemistry, Olomouc, CZ-783 71, Czech Republic.

  • Nancy E. Tatarek Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ohio University, 111 Bentley Annex, Athens, OH 45701.
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  • Lee Meadows Jantz Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996.
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  • Bruce R. McCord Ph.D.

    1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida International University, University Park, 11200 SW, FL 33199.
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  • *This project was supported under award 2002-IJ-CX-K007 from the National Institute of Justice and by the Provost Undergraduate Research Fund of Ohio University.

Additional information and reprint requests:
Bruce R. McCord, Ph.D.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Florida International University CP304 11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199
E-mail: mccordb@fiu.edu

Abstract

ABSTRACT: A new set of multiplexed PCR primers has been applied to the analysis of human skeletal remains to determine their efficacy in analyzing degraded DNA. These primer sets, known as Miniplexes, produce shorter amplicons (50–280 base pairs (bp)) than standard short tandem repeat (STR) kits, but still utilize the 13 CODIS STR loci, providing results that are searchable on national DNA databases. In this study, a set of 31 different human remains were exposed to a variety of environmental conditions, extracted, and amplified with commercial and Miniplex DNA typing kits. The amplification efficiency of the Miniplex sets was then compared with the Promega PowerPlex® 16 system. Sixty-four percent of the samples generated full profiles when amplified with the Miniplexes, while only 16% of the samples generated full profiles with the Powerplex® 16 kit. Complete profiles were obtained for 11 of the 12 Miniplex loci with amplicon sizes less than 200 bp. These data suggest smaller PCR amplicons may provide a useful alternative to mitochondrial DNA for anthropological and forensic analysis of degraded DNA from human skeletal remains.

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