Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 4-22-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Murrell Godfrey

Second Advisor

Carolyn Freiwald

Third Advisor

Randy Wadkins

Relational Format

Microsoft

Abstract

Forensic dentistry has evolved from simple morphological investigations to genetic and molecular analysis. One of the most important techniques is DNA analysis which requires viable samples from an individual or crime site. The orofacial region can be a good source for DNA samples because the tissues can resist environmental, thermal, electrical, and mechanical challenges. Teeth are especially useful as a source of genetic material because the DNA located in the pulp is surrounded by protective mineral tissue. The DNA in the pulp tissue is currently accessed through destructive methods involving crushing, pulverization, and splitting the tooth. Unfortunately, destructive methods destroy the morphology and histology of the tooth, preventing the further collection of forensic information. In order to avoid the partial or complete loss of the tooth, our research attempts to develop a non-invasive DNA extraction method from teeth.

The non-invasive method for the extraction of DNA from teeth involves an extraction buffer and DNA purification. First, the tooth is cleaned and soaked in the extraction buffer for five days. The extracted DNA is then purified using a single spin purification kit. This process aims to extract the DNA from the dentin and cementum of the tooth without compromising the tooth’s structure.

Two trials were performed, one using human teeth and the other using dog teeth. The trials provided some positive data. However, further research is required to confirm the quantity and quality of DNA.

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