Northumbria University Centre for Forensic Science

Room temperature DNA preservation of soft tissue for rapid DNA extraction: an addition to the disaster victim identification investigators toolkit?

E.M.A. Graham, E.E. Turk & G.N. Rutty. Forensic Science International: Genetics, 2(1), pp. 29-34. (2008).


In mass fatality incidents, for example following a vehicle accident or terrorist event, severe fragmentation of bodies may occur, making identification by the use of traditional techniques such as fingerprinting or odontology difficult. In such situations DNA profiling can be employed for individualization and re-association of fragmented remains. As at times disrupted soft tissue may be the predominate tissue type requiring identification and re-association. We have investigated the use of two buffer solutions for preservation of soft tissue samples that may be collected during such investigations, when buccal cells, blood samples or teeth or bone may not be available. Both buffer solutions have shown sufficient DNA preservation over a 12-month period of storage at room temperature to allow for DNA profiling to be successfully performed when 5-1000 mg muscle tissue was stored in each solution.

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