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Article

Ancient DNA Methods Improve Forensic DNA Profiling of Korean War and World War II Unknowns

1
Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
2
Armed Forces Medical Examiner System’s Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFMES-AFDIL), Dover Air Force Base, Dover, DE 19902, USA
3
SNA International, Contractor Supporting the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA
4
Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University, SE-751 08 Uppsala, Sweden
5
Defense Personnel Accounting Agency, Central Identification Laboratory, Hickam Air Force Base, Oahu, HI 96853, USA
6
Forensic Science Program, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA 16802, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Niels Morling
Genes 2022, 13(1), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13010129
Received: 15 December 2021 / Revised: 6 January 2022 / Accepted: 7 January 2022 / Published: 11 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Forensic Genetics)
The integration of massively parallel sequencing (MPS) technology into forensic casework has been of particular benefit to the identification of unknown military service members. However, highly degraded or chemically treated skeletal remains often fail to provide usable DNA profiles, even with sensitive mitochondrial (mt) DNA capture and MPS methods. In parallel, the ancient DNA field has developed workflows specifically for degraded DNA, resulting in the successful recovery of nuclear DNA and mtDNA from skeletal remains as well as sediment over 100,000 years old. In this study we use a set of disinterred skeletal remains from the Korean War and World War II to test if ancient DNA extraction and library preparation methods improve forensic DNA profiling. We identified an ancient DNA extraction protocol that resulted in the recovery of significantly more human mtDNA fragments than protocols previously used in casework. In addition, utilizing single-stranded rather than double-stranded library preparation resulted in increased attainment of reportable mtDNA profiles. This study emphasizes that the combination of ancient DNA extraction and library preparation methods evaluated here increases the success rate of DNA profiling, and likelihood of identifying historical remains. View Full-Text
Keywords: degraded DNA; massively parallel sequencing (MPS); mitochondrial DNA; forensic DNA profiling; ancient DNA; human identification degraded DNA; massively parallel sequencing (MPS); mitochondrial DNA; forensic DNA profiling; ancient DNA; human identification
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zavala, E.I.; Thomas, J.T.; Sturk-Andreaggi, K.; Daniels-Higginbotham, J.; Meyers, K.K.; Barrit-Ross, S.; Aximu-Petri, A.; Richter, J.; Nickel, B.; Berg, G.E.; McMahon, T.P.; Meyer, M.; Marshall, C. Ancient DNA Methods Improve Forensic DNA Profiling of Korean War and World War II Unknowns. Genes 2022, 13, 129. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13010129

AMA Style

Zavala EI, Thomas JT, Sturk-Andreaggi K, Daniels-Higginbotham J, Meyers KK, Barrit-Ross S, Aximu-Petri A, Richter J, Nickel B, Berg GE, McMahon TP, Meyer M, Marshall C. Ancient DNA Methods Improve Forensic DNA Profiling of Korean War and World War II Unknowns. Genes. 2022; 13(1):129. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13010129

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zavala, Elena I., Jacqueline T. Thomas, Kimberly Sturk-Andreaggi, Jennifer Daniels-Higginbotham, Kerriann K. Meyers, Suzanne Barrit-Ross, Ayinuer Aximu-Petri, Julia Richter, Birgit Nickel, Gregory E. Berg, Timothy P. McMahon, Matthias Meyer, and Charla Marshall. 2022. "Ancient DNA Methods Improve Forensic DNA Profiling of Korean War and World War II Unknowns" Genes 13, no. 1: 129. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13010129

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