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  • Forensic Extraction

    Does anyone here on the site have any experience with FTDNA and extracting DNA from samples other than cheeks cells? I'd love to test my grandfather, but he's since passed away. I may however have a hairbrush of his. I know the hair root needs to be intact, but he died over 8 years ago. Anyone have any experience with this? Thanks!


  • #2
    Hi,

    I found a reference to testing other than cheek cells on the main page of FTDNA. It says to contact them for a quote. Maybe that would be what you need to do.

    http://www.familytreedna.com/products.aspx

    Scroll to the bottom of page where it says specialty testing and it has a link to contact them.

    Connie

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    • #3
      FTDNA on DNA extraction from hair

      Originally posted by KCWelch View Post
      Does anyone here on the site have any experience with FTDNA and extracting DNA from samples other than cheeks cells? I'd love to test my grandfather, but he's since passed away. I may however have a hairbrush of his. I know the hair root needs to be intact, but he died over 8 years ago. Anyone have any experience with this? Thanks!

      I am in the same situation (with a two year old hairbrush).

      In January 2012 I got this reply from FTDNA on the issue:

      "We no longer accept hair samples; the percentage of extracting a viable DNA sample was also too low to continue offering. We do however, accept DNA extracted from another lab for testing. I think this may be your best option with hair. (We will need to issue an account number for the DNA first)".

      Does anyone know of a suitable lab for DNA extraction from (lots of) hair?
      I am interested in the Family Finder test, so a significant amount of DNA is needed.

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      • #4
        I did a forensic extraction for my maternal grandfather. I asked FTDNA about hair because I have a hat of his that has a lot of his hair in it. FTDNA told me that they don't do hair extractions. My aunt actually pointed out to me that in his old dresser drawer were some old nail clippings. I gathered them up (carefully and without toughing them) and arranged for an extraction to be done on the sample. The results were mixed. I only got 12 markers out of Y-DNA but for mtDNA I got both HVR1 and HVR2. The mtDNA results were really what I wanted, particularly since I can get the Y-chromosome from his son (still working on this), so overall I was really happy. My number one priority was getting FF results for him. FTDNA mentioned that they won't do FF results on forensic samples because of their stringent rules regarding this. I think the person I wrote said there was too much risk that the results wouldn't be genuine (that is contaminated etc). I don't recall the specifics.

        No one ever mentioned to me that hair was a possibility. If I could get the extraction done at another lab and then have the results sent to FTDNA I would surely pursue it. My initial extraction very really expensive however, so the whole process is likely cost prohibitive to most.

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        • #5
          KCWelch, how much was your original extraction, and which lab performed it? I am in a similar situation, but with a brick wall that professional genealogists have not been able to resolve. I have come close with my YDNA tests, but it is not enough. I believe that forensic DNA testing might be able to bridge the final gap. To that end, I would be very interested in reading about other peoples' experiences in this area; labs used, costs, results, etc.

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          • #6
            I've got some teeth that were extracted from my Mom years ago. They are still sealed in their original small brown paper packet from the dentist. (I haven't opened it to look at them because I don't want to contaminate them). What I need is FF for this, if there is viable dna in the roots. (If there are any roots). I guess I will keep hanging onto it...since FTDNA won't do the FF, so this thread says.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ragnar View Post
              I've got some teeth that were extracted from my Mom years ago. They are still sealed in their original small brown paper packet from the dentist. (I haven't opened it to look at them because I don't want to contaminate them). What I need is FF for this, if there is viable dna in the roots. (If there are any roots). I guess I will keep hanging onto it...since FTDNA won't do the FF, so this thread says.
              The problem with getting teeth from a dentist is that they are almost always run through an autoclave for sterilization which can ruin or degrade the DNA in the tooth. Also, some states, like New Jersey, will not allow the patient to take their own extracted teeth home with them from the dentist; the dentist is required by law to treat the teeth as medical waste and dispose of them accordingly. If there is gold or platinum used as filling material, the dentist WILL remove the noble metal and give it to the patient but the tooth itself is discarded as medical waste (ending up floating in the pacific ocean somewhere polluting this blessed planet ). This is however, not an absolute as some dentists give you your extracted, un-sterilized teeth regardless of the law .

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              • #8
                Awhile back an anthropologist reported on the extraction of DNA from hair shafts, as opposed to roots. I bet you could Google-up a copy or abstract. The tricky bit is removing the keratin that sheaths the hair without damaging the DNA. Don't know if such extractions are available to retail clients.

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                • #9
                  Her teeth would have been extracted in the late 1950's (before getting her upper dentures), so most likely not sterilized. Our dentists here would give them to us in a small box or a small brown envelope. I remember seeing my baby teeth (with their big roots) go in right from the tray in front of me. No sterilization of those extracted teeth back then in the 1950's & 60's.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ragnar View Post
                    Her teeth would have been extracted in the late 1950's (before getting her upper dentures), so most likely not sterilized. Our dentists here would give them to us in a small box or a small brown envelope. I remember seeing my baby teeth (with their big roots) go in right from the tray in front of me. No sterilization of those extracted teeth back then in the 1950's & 60's.
                    That's great! A sealed tooth, one that has never been drilled, is ideal but even a tooth with an average sized filling will work. Good luck!

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