When a loved one dies, you have the choice to cremate their remains. This can be beneficial in more ways than one. Cremating your loved ones not only keeps them closer but might help you get more answers out of them in the future.
There are plenty of reasons why someone would want to analyze the remains of the deceased. One way to do that is with DNA extraction and analysis.
But can this be done with cremated remains?
If you’re unsure if you can retrieve DNA from a deceased family member’s ashes, or you’re simply curious, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s everything you need to know about retrieving DNA and cremation ashes, to help you along the way. Follow this guide and get the information you need from the ashes.
What happens after cremation?
Once you have cremated someone you are potentially free to do whatever you like with the ashes. Depending on the wishes of the deceased, you can dispose of the ashes, keep them as they are, or transform them into something else.
Some choose to release the ashes into the sea, a river, or other natural areas to bring the deceased back to nature.
Some though prefer to keep their ashes protected inside an urn, which you can customize any way that you, or the deceased, want.
Those at Green Meadow Memorials are one of many urn makers that can get you what you need from a custom metal pet urn, to an engraved wooden one.
Choosing the right urn for your loved one is an important way to respect their final wishes, and carry them with you after they die.
Last but not least, you can get creative with your deceased family members’ remains, and turn them into other objects. If you so wish, you can turn your loved ones’ ashes into anything from a vinyl record to a tattoo to glass art and jewelry.
The options are endless for how you choose to keep and remember your deceased loved ones.
Can you get DNA from ashes?
The simple answer to this question is yes. You can get a DNA sample from a deceased person’s ashes.
During the cremation process, the whole body gets incinerated, and although most of the remains are ash, there are surviving pieces of bone.
These bone fragments are the key to extracting DNA from a person’s cremated remains.
Skin, bone, hair, and bodily fluids all contain the important building block of life; DNA. Each living thing’s DNA is unique and can be used to identify and differentiate things and organisms.
As long as you have any of these parts of the body, you can extract DNA from it.
With regular decaying bodies, you can get DNA from any part that hasn’t decayed too much. With the cremated remains of a person, you can only extract it from the small bone particles that remain.
Can DNA expire?
Now that you know how to extract DNA from ashes, you might be wondering if it has an expiration date. To answer your question, DNA can last for a very long time.
DNA can be extracted from the incinerated remains long after the cremation, so long as there are bone fragments to work with.
Although DNA is such a strong molecule and can withstand the test of time, it won’t last forever. As the body decays, so does the DNA, meaning there will be less of it to extract and analyze.
The longer the body is exposed to the elements and the longer after a person’s death, the less DNA there is to work with.
Although cremated ashes contain less DNA than a body, the amount tends to stay constant for longer. If the remains are kept safe in an urn, away from the elements, there’s a very low chance that the amount of DNA will deplete.
This is good news for anyone looking to extract DNA from their lost family member’s ashes.
Can you get DNA from teeth?
Apart from pure bone, teeth are the next best source of DNA in a person’s cremated remains. If you happen to have their teeth or fragments of them on hand, you are in luck if you are searching for DNA.
Human teeth are covered in a hard substance called enamel, which protects the tooth, giving it a strong exterior.
DNA can be extracted from under the enamel and is usually the better choice when compared to bones. The hard outer layer protects the DNA inside, leaving it more intact and easy to work with.
Because they are so sturdy, teeth are usually the last of a person’s remains to decompose. This makes them a great source of DNA for analyzing and testing if you can’t get your hands on any bones or fragments.
Why would you need DNA?
There are many reasons to want to extract a person’s DNA even from their ashes after their death.
First, DNA can be used to identify a person, making it a valuable tool in plenty of instances. It carries all the biological information of any living organism, which is why it’s used to identify people.
By looking at DNA, you can gain information about any illnesses or conditions that a person might have or have had. A person’s DNA can tell you all about their natural physical characteristics like hair color, eye color, and gender.
Your DNA also carries information on all your ancestry, so you can find out exactly where you came from hundreds of years ago.
DNA is a fascinating and informative thing and can tell you a lot about a person. It’s incredibly useful and it makes sense why people would want to analyze it.
So there you have it!
Now that you are all caught up, you will know what to do with the remains of your family members.
Cremation is the process of turning the deceased into ashes and can be done for a variety of reasons. It’s a great way to keep your deceased loved ones close, and put their eternal soul at ease.
DNA is the building block of life and it can be extracted from the cremated remains of a person. As long as you have bone, or preferably teeth, fragments present in the ashes you can get DNA samples from it.
If the remains are kept well and protected from the elements, you can extract DNA from a person’s ashes, long after the cremation process.
For more information about how DNA testing can help you with your genealogy research, you can check out the What Is A Genealogy DNA Test post.
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