Part of the forensic ‘jigsaw puzzle’: Tooth shape offers insights into a deceased person’s genetic makeup

image a
Credit: Katerina Havati/University of Tübingen

A study found that some characteristics of dental remains — such as crown groove patterns, cusp size, number of roots, and the presence of wisdom teeth — can act as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to help discern a person’s identity and genetic makeup. 

These techniques can then be applied in various ways, to both modern and ancient remains and it could, for example, help identify unknown individuals in ongoing forensic cases where skeletal or DNA remnants have been destroyed. 

It could also be used to unpick the mystery of the human race’s origin from fossilised remains or investigate the prehistoric movement of ancient populations.

Related article:  Why conservatives should embrace evolution 'as a jewel' of modern Western civilization

Research from the University of Tübingen published in the journal PNAS used an algorithm to compare DNA data to commonly seen dental traits.

This allowed the researchers to find links connecting genetics and teeth characteristics, gathered by assessing more than 130million possible combinations. 

The scientists say that researchers in future should pay attention to the appearance of the teeth they discover.   

This will be of particular use if DNA cannot be retrieved due to poor preservation or when restrictions apply to destructive sampling, as in paleoanthropological research, says co-author Dr Hugo Reyes-Centeno.

Read the original post

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
ft covidresponseus feature

Video: Viewpoint: The US wrote the global playbook on the coronavirus and then ignored it

A year ago, the United States was regarded as the country best prepared for a pandemic. Our government had spent ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend