Diagnostic models to predict nuclear DNA and mitochondrial DNA recovery from incinerated teeth

Rabiah A. Rahmat, Melissa A. Humphries, Nor A. Saedon, Peter G. Self, Adrian M. T. Linacre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Teeth are frequently used for human identification from burnt remains, as the structure of a tooth is resilient against heat exposure. The intricate composition of hydroxyapatite (HA) mineral and collagen in teeth favours DNA preservation compared to soft tissues. Regardless of the durability, the integrity of the DNA structure in teeth can still be disrupted when exposed to heat. Poor DNA quality can negatively affect the success of DNA analysis towards human identification. The process of isolating DNA from biological samples is arduous and costly. Thus, an informative pre-screening method that could aid in selecting samples that can potentially yield amplifiable DNA would be of excellent value. A multiple linear regression model to predict the DNA content in incinerated pig teeth was developed based on the colourimetry, HA crystallite size and quantified nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. The chromaticity a* was found to be a significant predictor of the regression model. This study outlines a method to predict the viability of extracting nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from pig teeth that were exposed to a wide range of temperatures (27 to 1000 °C) with high accuracy (99.5–99.7%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1353-1360
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date12 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Forensic science
  • Incinerated teeth
  • Linear regression model
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Nuclear DNA
  • Quantitative polymerase chain reaction


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