Robert Ndou obtained his PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand where he is a Lecturer. His research focuses on the skeletal system and makes use of the Raymond A Dart Skeletal Collection housed at the University of the Witwatersrand. One of his research interest areas is human variation with respect to the skeletal system and its forensic anthropological applications.
South Africa is a country of diverse populations consisting of the indigenous Blacks, Whites (individuals of European descent) and mixed ethnic groups (descendants of Whites, Blacks and Khoisan people), among others. These groups have different physical features. As such, we queried whether upper limbs bones would have different dimensions in these 3 populations. A total of 1175 paired dry humeri and ulnae from 596 skeletonized individuals were analyzed. Limbs of both sides were included for 579 individuals, whereas 17 individuals had only a single side present. These bones are from three South African groups; 126 Whites, 232 Mixed ethnicity and 238 Blacks housed at the University of the Witwatersrand, Raymond A Dart Human Skeletal Collection. The following measurements were taken from the humerus: head circumference, shaft circumference at the 25th, 50th and 75th percentile marks of the humerus length, epicondylar breadth and humerus length. From the ulnar, the olecranon process length, coronoid process length, trochlear notch depth, olecranon-coronoid distance and ulnar length. A discriminant function analysis was conducted to determine the upper limb skeletal parameters that contribute to population variation. The structure matrix showed that both the humeral and ulna variables made major contributions to population variability. However, the olecranon fossa depth and the humeral head circumference contributed the most to population variability. The model correctly classified 78.9% of the individuals as White, 68% as Mixed and 79% as Black. Therefore, this study forms a basis for future research that may have forensic anthropological applications in these population groupings.
Jin Myung Lee has completed her Master’s degree from The Catholic University of Korea. She is the researcher of National Forensic Service at Forensic DNA Division. She has published more than 10 papers in reputed journals.
Short tandem repeats (STRs) are the most powerful tools for human identification in the field of forensic genetics. Recently, the multiplex GlobalFilerTM PCR Amplification kit (Applied Biosystems) and PowerPlex® Fusion system (Promega) were released with 24 loci, including the CODIS core, the European Standard Set and additional male-specific markers. In Korea, a DNA database has been constructed based on 13 STR CODIS core loci, and we are aiming to expand the number of testable STR loci in accordance with the expanded CODIS core loci. Therefore, in this study, we estimated the performance of the GlobalFilerTM PCR Amplification kit and PowerPlex® Fusion system for application of the expanded STR loci for DNA database generation and forensic casework analysis. For the validation, we performed five experiments, including sensitivity, stochastic, scale-down, inhibitor, and mixture studies, and compared the results of both multiplex kits. Five genotyping discrepancies between the GlobalFilerTM PCR Amplification kit and PowerPlex® Fusion system were observed due to allelic drop-out (null alleles) or microvariants. With the expanded markers, both new kits were shown to provide robust genetic information and are suitable tools for DNA database and forensic analyses, such as human identity and parentage testing.