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Updated on March 12, 2014

What is dental DNA fingerprinting ?

  • Dental DNA fingerprinting is a test to identify and evaluate DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid),in a person's cells.
  • It is called a "fingerprint" because just like a conventional fingerprint it is very unlikely that any two people would have exactly the same DNA information.
  • Although unlike a conventional fingerprint that occurs only on the fingertips and can be altered by surgery, a dental DNA fingerprint is the same for every cell, tissue, and organ of a person and cannot be altered by any known treatment.

Procedure involved in dental DNA fingerprinting

  • Dental DNA fingerprinting procedure is comprised of the following steps :
  1. Attainment of a sample of cells containing DNA from teeth.
  2. Extraction and and purification of the DNA obtained.
  3. Cleavage of the DNA from the cells into fragments of varying lengths of by specific enzymes.
  4. Analysis of the fragments obtained by the cleavage.

Importance of dental DNA fingerprinting in the field of forensics

  • The tooth acts like a sealed box, protected by epithelial, connective, muscular and bone tissues , preserving the DNA from extreme environmental conditions.
  • As dental pulp is surrounded by dentin and enamel, which forms dental armor, it offers the best source of DNA for use in forensic science.

ivory canopic coffer
ivory canopic coffer
CT scan of the coffer
CT scan of the coffer
Queen Hatsheput's jaw xray
Queen Hatsheput's jaw xray

Applications of dental DNA fingerprinting

  1. In case of human identification in natural calamities, mass disasters, fires, explosions, or ancient remains, the DNA extracted from the teeth of an unidentified individual is matched with the ante mortem samples such as stored blood, tooth brush, hairbrush, clothing, cervical smear, biopsy, parent or sibling for identification basis.
  2. In cases of identification of individual's physical characteristics, ethnicity and or place of origin.
  3. In sex determination
  4. To determine a species of an archeological discovery. ex:
  • The misplaced body of queen Hatsheput was when a tooth found in an ivory canopic coffer inscriber with her name fit exactly into the jaw socket and broken root of the mummy of an obese woman originally found in another Tomb.


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    • gareema profile image

      Gareema 3 years ago from India