Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

Spring 2013

Thesis Advisor

Janet Monge


Identification of remains of missing servicemen lost overseas is a very difficult task. Identification based on osteology supplemented by identification based on DNA analysis optimizes the chances of positively identifying a soldier. For this thesis project, I examined how both osteology and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) can be employed in identifications. To learn more about the way that DNA can be employed in identification cases, I worked on a project that studied the genetic ancestry of an indigenous Mexican population known as the Popoluca. The Popoluca are a Totonocan speaking people which are divided into four social groups spread across 25 towns and hamlets in Veracruz. The mtDNAs of Popoluca individuals were surveyed for sequence variation. The results of the study indicated that the Popoluca are comprised of individuals belonging to either haplogroups A or C, with the exception of one individual from haplogroup B. The Popoluca individuals also contained some haplotypes that were unique to them compared to other Native Mexican populations. Such uniqueness demonstrates how the comparison of mtDNA could prove useful in identification cases.

Included in

Anthropology Commons



Date Posted: 08 June 2016


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