The development of new techniques in molecular biology has opened many new channels for investigating anthropological questions. Key among these new techniques is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) which allows the quantitative amplification of exceptionally small quantities of DNA. This has led to the generation of DNA samples from ancient soft tissues and bone. However, one unresolved problem derives from the sensitivity of PCR; contamination with modern DNA can confound the results. This Exploratory Grant for Anthropological Research will allow the conduct of several well controlled experiments to test decontamination procedures. The PI will artificially contaminate forensic samples with genetically engineered DNA. After using various protocols the PCR amplified DNA can be compared to expected results for precise determination of the efficiency of decontamination. In addition, though techniques for isolating DNA from bone have been published, there are no protocols specific to teeth. The research also will optimize the conditions for isolating DNA from teeth. As teeth are the hardest part of the body and the most likely to be preserved this technique will have potential uses in forensic and evolutionary applications.