La Sapienza - Università di Roma

logo de La Sapienza per la stampa

Sapienza Contributes to the Identification of Anonymous Corpses


Medical examiners at Sapienza-Policlinico Umberto Iprovided an important scientific contribution to the identification of anonymous corpses, even those that disappeared years ago. Recently, in fact, this team confirmed the identity of a woman who had disappeared in 1998 and whose corpse was found last year. The team of medical examiners, coordinated for Sapienza by Professor Vittorio Fineschi from the Department of Anatomical, Histological, Locomotor and Legal Medicine Sciences, in collaboration with l RIS forensic dentists and the Rome Genome Lab – coordinated by the High Commissioner – were able to reconstruct the genetic profile of the unidentified person from a small bone fragment. 

In particular, the analyses were performed on a tooth fragment that was not very well conserved and required a series of amplification tests. The results were integrated with a DNA analysis. There were other elements that pointed to the corpse’s identity, but there was no hard proof that could back this legally. The use of highly innovative tools and techniques allowed the team to obtain a nearly complete genetic profile, compatible with that of the presumed relatives, confirming the direct consanguinity.

Once again, Sapienza confirms its role in advancing not only the medical area, but also all the other health professions related to forensic medicine and law.