Alina Euskirchen


Titel der Masterarbeit:
The application of forensic DNA phenotyping to anthropological research questions.

In forensic casework, the analysis of STRs and hence the use of genetic fingerprints to identify a person are routinely in use. Recently, due to new scientific findings as well as legislative changes the method of forensic DNA phenotyping has become increasingly important. Compared to DNA typing, it does not rely on the comparison of two samples or with a database. Rather, its outcome can serve as a biological witness and therefore provide new investigative leads.

Today, the most used assay is the HIrisPlex-S system which analyses 41 single nucleotide polymorphisms to determine the eye, hair and skin colour of an individual. Human pigmentation, including those traits belongs to the externally visible characteristics which are used to describe, identify and differentiate between individuals.

Retrieving information about externally visible characteristics from DNA is, however, equally interesting in an anthropological context. The challenge here is that ancient DNA extracted from bones or teeth is often highly degraded and therefore of low quantity and quality. Although forensic DNA Phenotyping was successfully applied to DNA from bones and teeth of various storage times and conditions practical case applications are still scarce. However, forensic DNA phenotyping has great potential for future anthropological investigations as it can shed new light on old debates and uncover phenotypic traits that are inaccessible with traditional methods.

Therefore, my thesis aims to show that forensic DNA phenotyping using the Dynamic Array™ IFC by Fluidigm® is a useful tool in answering various anthropological research questions. The method will be applied to DNA of different conservation and degradation stages to conclude the general suitability of forensic DNA phenotyping for anthropological questions.

Publikationen und Konferenzbeiträge:

  • Tagung der GAPA (Gesellschaft für Archäozoologie und Prähistorische Anthropologie), Weimar, 26.09. bis 30.09.2022:
    Euskirchen A, Mazanec J, Dörk T, Hummel S: The Use of Forensic DNA Phenotyping in Anthropology (Posterbeitrag).
  • Dieser Beitrag wurde mit dem Nachwuchspreis für das beste Poster ausgezeichnet. Poster als PDF ansehen

  • Euskirchen A, Hartmann L, Mazanec J, Wittmeier P, Hummel S (2021): The influence of sample quantity and lysis parameters on the success of ancient DNA
    extraction from skeletal remains. BioTechniques 71: 00–00, 10.2144/btn-2020-0169 PDF