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Impact of sample degradation and inhibition on field-based DNA identification of human remainsThe advent of DNA technologies for field-based application promises to provide rapid intelligence to aid investigations. Their validation and adoption by enforcement groups have demonstrated utility in sample screening and prioritisation, but field application in some areas of forensic science, such as human remains identification, is little evidenced. Assessing the ability of such approaches to provide meaningful data is critical as decomposition is likely to complicate analysis and limit the effective use of such field-based DNA interventions. This research assessed the ability to collect viable DNA data in the field using the ParaDNA Field Instrument and Intelligence Test chemistry. Different sample collection methods were assessed; direct from skin surface; direct from exposed tissue; indirect from muscle swab transferred to FTA card; and from larvae on the donors. Samples were collected and processed on-site at the Anthropology Research Facility, University of Tennessee. The data show that the muscle tissue provided the most effective sample template and, using this approach, it was possible to generate STR profiles from human remains in under two hours from the time of sample collection. STR profile data were collected up to four days from donor placement (114 Accumulated Degree Days). After this time there was a rapid decrease in the quality of the profiles collected due to the onset of decomposition. The data also show that effective sample recovery was not possible from the surface of the skin, exposed tissue or from carrion larvae. Inhibition studies in the laboratory suggest that by-products of the decomposition process are the primary mode of failure. Together these data suggests a possible application for screening and prioritisation in criminal casework but highlights issues that may affect the success of the approach.