FNSC5515 Molecular Osteology

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
This is an introductory unit in molecular osteology, the interdisciplinary collaboration between physical anthropology and molecular biology to facilitate forensic identification of unknown remains. The unit provides students with basic knowledge, and practical experience, in the following concepts and principles: (1) bone diagenesis—considerations for molecular sampling; (2) fundamentals of proper preparation of bone material prior to molecular sampling; (3) DNA extraction and analysis—sex determination and general ancestry; (4) species and personnel identification using mtDNA and STR profiles; (5) guidelines for analysis—minimisation of contamination, authentication and reproduction; (6) laser ablation ICP-MS and spectral fingerprinting; (7) isotopes and their application in determining geographic origin and diet; and (8) commingling of bones—reassignment using bone isotope composition.
Students are able to (1) explain bone diagensis and how it affects the ability to acquire forensic data.; (2) demonstrate competence in sampling procedures, including decontamination; (3) identify the latest available methods for molecular analysis of bone material and critically evaluate their forensic efficacy; (4) define laser ablation and other chemical approaches for the analysis of biological samples; (5) explain the analytical procedures involved in the reassignment of commingled remains based on molecular and bone chemistry approaches; and (6) demonstrate an awareness of the latest developments in molecular osteology in relation to forensic practice.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) practical work; (2) research essay
; and (3) examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Silvana Gaudieri and Associate Professor Daniel Franklin
Unit rules
enrolment in the Graduate Certificate in Forensic Anthropology (72280) Graduate Diploma in Forensic Anthropology (72380)
Master of Forensic Anthropology (72580)
Contact hours
lectures: 8 x 1.5 hours; tutorials: 8 x 1.5 hours; lab work: approximately 2 hours per week
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