Two methods by which DNA can be used in identifying a body
Our victims identification testing can help in instances where the body has been exposed to conditions that have caused excessive degradation. This means the body will not be easily identifiable by the relatives or friends of the victim. In such cases, DNA testing might be recommended.
Between all the possible methods of DNA identification, what is crucial to understand is the a DNA sample (or other record/sample) will need to be collected from the body and compared to another sample from a known sources to confirm whether these belong to the same person or not.
- A DNA sample can be collected from the corpse and compared to a sample known to belong, with 100% certainty, to the victim – perhaps some hair samples, a toothbrush or a range of other possible samples. Comparison of the DNA profiles from the 2 samples that yields a match will confirm that the identity of the body.
- A sample collected from the body can be compared to a DNA sample from an alleged, direct blood relative – for example a parent or sibling. If the DNA test shows that the sample collected from the body and the alleged relatives share a genetic profile, then the victim has been identified.
In the second case, the most positive identification can be achieved by testing parents. This said, a paternity test, maternity test or relationship test is only 100% accurate at excluding the individuals tested from being related.
What other methods are available?
There are two other methods by which a body can be indentified and both used extensively in forensic investigations (easyDNA does not offer the below tests).
- Fingerprints – fingerprints allow for a clear-cut and accurate identification of the victim. The problem with fingerprints is that if there is not fingerprint record of the individual other than those on the body itself, it may be hard to use these to confirm the identity of the body
- Odontology – due to the fact that teeth are highly durable and do not degrade quickly or easily, teeth can make for a very sound and accurate way of identifying a victim – again, dental records will be needed for comparison.