U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.


NCJ Number
H C Lee; R E Gaensslen
Date Published
17 pages
Various methods are used to identify human remains, depending on case circumstances and condition of the remains, and blood and DNA typing in bone has emerged as a useful forensic technique.
Recent cases have dramatically illustrated the potential value of reliable methods for blood typing bone fragments. Both forensic specialists and physical anthropologists have expressed an interest in bone blood typing. Most forensic studies have concentrated on typing bone from individuals whose blood type could be independently determined. Further, most bone typing studies have focused on getting ABO blood types from bone tissue. The application of blood stain typing techniques to bone tissue, however, has produced mixed results. The authors describe a procedure for ABO typing of bone that combines previously used methods (inhibition and elution). The technique used to prepare bone tissue for analysis and the interpretation of results are extremely important to the combination procedure. An innovative recent development in forensic biology concerns advances in molecular biology and genetic engineering. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) can be extracted from human blood cells, blood stains, seminal stains, and other tissues and then analyzed. The application of DNA fingerprinting to any tissue requires the isolation of DNA from the tissue in a sufficiently intact form. DNA typing can be used to match different bones belonging to the same person from sites where skeletal remains of more than one person are comingled. In addition, DNA typing can sometimes be used to show that a specimen of human remains originated from the offspring of particular parents. DNA analysis methods are described, and future developments in the use of DNA fingerprinting are discussed. 23 references