Exploring ExtensionsRemains of a soldier shot down over Vi…

Exploring Extensions

Remains of a soldier shot down over Vietnam in 1972 and buried in the Tomb of the Unknown in 1984 were identified in 1998 by the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (see Section 12.9). The confirmatory tests were based on matching mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from the soldier’s bones with mtDNA from his mother.

a. Why were these tests not done before the remains were placed in the Tomb?

b. Find more information about the specificities of test results when using nuclear DNA rather than mtDNA.

c. As of this writing, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology are preparing an mtDNA standard for forensic laboratories to measure the accuracy of their results. Has that standard been issued?

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