Memorial eckert paper for 2007 forensic DNA analysis for the medical examiner

J. Keith Pinckard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The objective of this manuscript is to provide an overview of the application of forensic DNA analysis as it pertains directly to the medical examiner, namely, in the identification of human remains. For samples yielding a sufficient amount of nondegraded DNA, the analysis of a standardized set of 13 short tandem repeats can provide enough statistical power not only to exclude a potential source but also to essentially attribute or match a source of DNA. Short tandem repeats from the Y chromosome may be analyzed in paternal lineage analysis and to isolate male DNA from a male-female mixture. For samples that are degraded, decomposed, or contain insufficient amounts of nuclear DNA, mitochondrial DNA may provide sufficient exclusionary potential and may also be used in lineage analysis. The Federal Bureau of Investigation maintains databases of both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA profiles against which profiles generated from postmortem examinations may be compared to identify human remains. Medical examiners must have sufficient familiarity with forensic DNA testing to obtain the most appropriate test samples during the postmortem examination and to obtain the most appropriate comparison samples from family members, when available, to maximize the statistical power of DNA analysis for the identification of human remains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-381
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008


  • DNA
  • Forensic pathology
  • Identification
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • STR
  • Unidentified remains
  • Y-STR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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