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Forensic investigation of burnt human remains

Authors Imaizumi K

Received 12 September 2015

Accepted for publication 7 November 2015

Published 10 December 2015 Volume 2015:5 Pages 67—74

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/RRFMS.S75141

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Henrik Druid


Kazuhiko Imaizumi

National Research Institute of Police Science, Kashiwa, Japan

Abstract: In forensic casework, it is vital to be able to obtain valuable information from burnt bone fragments to ascertain the identity of the victim. Burnt bones show significant alterations both in physical and in chemical properties, and these could be obstacles to anthropological tests and DNA profiling. Heat increases the difficulties of bone identification, depending on the exposure temperature. We therefore need to collate detailed information on bone alterations during burning and the influence on appropriate interpretation of observations and test results. This review summarizes the alterations that occur in bone during the burning process, particularly focusing on coloration, weight reduction, shrinkage, deformation, fragmentation, and DNA survival. In addition, the application of micro-computed tomography imaging to burnt bone identification is introduced as one of the most advanced technologies for anthropological analysis.

Keywords: burnt remains, burnt bone, cremation, DNA degradation, micro-CT

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