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Imagine that you have a small, aged bone fragment or charred remains after a fire, a tooth that has been buried and exposed to the environment for years to decades, or possibly a single hair shaft. How would you even begin to make an identification to reconnect these remains with family members? In these small and compromised samples, often nuclear DNA is insufficient to generate useful results with current STR typing methods. Since the early 1990’s, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis has been used in these most challenging of cases. Professor Walther Parson from the Institute of Legal Medicine, Innsbruck Medical University discusses a number of cases his lab has worked on, using mtDNA analysis to make critical identifications.