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We often discuss the complex process of extracting DNA from bones, so we were excited to discover a valuable, free resource, "OsteoID", which helps forensic practitioners identify the type of bone they are working with. Check out the link below

About OsteoID

It's a user-friendly online tool that assists in identifying bones. Users can determine if a bone is potentially human and, if non-human, identify the specific animal species. The tool provides guidance through high-quality photographs for selecting the correct bone type and allows users to input basic measurements. It then returns colour photographs of potential species for visual comparison. Additionally, links to three-dimensional (3D) surface models are available, enabling 3D comparisons and the creation of virtual comparative collections or 3D printing.

Who can us OsteoID?

ANYONE! Initially developed for forensic professionals like forensic anthropologists, medico-legal death investigators, crime scene personnel, coroners, medical examiners, and law enforcement, it is open to everyone. It serves those curious about bones they find or those interested in comparative osteology. However, if human remains are suspected, it is crucial to contact your local law enforcement promptly.


And if you are struggling to extract DNA from bones, we asked A/Prof. Heathfield* to share a few publications that may shed some light on this complex process. Click on the Prof's suggested links below:

The Finaughty et al 2023 paper titled 'Forensic DNA extraction methods for human hard tissue: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis of technologies and sample type' is an excellent paper.

See too this case report from our UCT research group:

And then look at two other case reports from Ghana below:

*A/Prof. Laura Heathfield is the Programme Convenor: Biomedical Forensic Science postgraduate programmes at the Division of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa.


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