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Title: Age at death and gender determination of Kuwaiti individuals from dentine
Author: Al-Qattan, Sahib Issa
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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Estimation of age at death from dentine from upper first premolar teeth using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) for the separation of D- and L- forms of aspartic acid in minute quantities of dentine has been successfully established in Kuwait and is sensitive enough for practical use. The method was shown to be accurate to +/- 1.2 years. The affect upon racemization of aspartic acid in teeth buried at depths of 0.5M and 2.0M over a 10 month period demonstrated that in desert conditions in the Middle East racemization continued providing results less constant than in teeth not buried. A standard error of +/- 2.3 years was obtained for teeth buried at 0.5M and +/- 3.0 years at 2.0M. The D/L ration was significantly different between buried and not buried teeth. These results demonstrated continued postmortem racemization in the warm soil and the modification of the racemization rate is discussed in the context of prolonged exposure to body temperature, relatively high pH and low humidity. The findings are important since estimation of the age of an unknown body recovered from the desert must now take into consideration temperature, pH, soil humidity at the burial depth (as measured at the site) and also the length of time for which the teeth may have been buried. Further studies now require to be undertaken in conditions where the soil and climate are very different in order that the results of racemization estimates world wide can be interpreted accurately. The trace element experiments while demonstrating an accumulation of most elements with time did not provide reliable information about the age of the subject at the time of death. The variables and problems concerned are discussed in detail. Although through using both racemization and trace element methods it was possible to indicate a probability of gender in any tooth examined the degree of accuracy proved to be poor and it is anticipated that DNA analysis will be much more useful. The future role for tooth pulps in DNA identification is briefly discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available