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| Clinical Anthropology Essay

Clinical anthropology is the study of the cultural beliefs and the subsequent behaviors associated to the origin, management and recognition of both health and illness within various cultural and social groups. This field goes further to handle cases out of the bracket of medical diagnosis, treatment such as biomedicine. These include issues dealing with the informal systems of health care in a global perspective. There are other aspects of health issues dealing with treatment, healers, traditional birth attendants, alternative practitioners, and Shamans. It also incorporates the health practices associated with the professional Western based medicine and caring practices. This field relates to cultural diversities in health and disease well as the shared beliefs, practices and images that are associated with the perception of the human mind and body.

There are several methods and techniques that are important in the understanding and the establishment of the practice of clinical anthropology. All in all the technique applied using the DNA technology scores above the rest in this area of study. DNA analysis from extracts from archeological specimens has been very instrumental in the answering of several anthropological questions in the medical field. The inconsistency in the results obtained from this method of analysis is a worrying phenomenon in the global arena. This is because the researchers feel very paranoid about the whole process of the DNA analysis especially in the medical research laboratories. The researchers outside this field therefore, feel very paranoid towards this tasking method of application to the clinical anthropology field. It is very limited to the specimens that exhibit excellent preservations in the labs.

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The contamination of the samples with the exogenous DNA is a very common and escalating problem to this field in the health and disease control systems. This technique requires specialized and very extensive training in order for the individual to perform the complex procedures in this field of biology and biotechnology. It must be carefully planned with proper input right from the archeologists, linguistics, physical anthropologists and other related researchers. These individuals should focus on the well preserved samples that will produce very clear answer to the various questions that may auger well with the non genetic analysis.

DNA typing can be utilized in the identification of several individuals since DNA is very different among different individuals except in very minimal cases of identical twins. Any skeletal remains in the field of archeology could be important in the analysis of the DNA sequence of a population or a specific individual. The reference specimen for the comparison of DNA is obtained from very close family member and then applied in the comparison issue in order to solve specific problems.

Forensic DNA Identification

There are several molecular techniques available in the current medical field. This has really revolutionized the whole idea of the biological sciences. The procedure for the rapid DNA sequencing was created in the early 1970s. Two years later, the Southern Blot technique was also developed. In 1985, the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) was then developed. These two techniques have been important in the fragmentation and amplification of the DNA strands in the current medical field. These te3chniques in the field of molecular biology have since diverged from the research laboratories into the laboratories of clinical nature in the control and maintenance of several conditions in the health and fitness sector.

It has also spread into the forensics department in most hospitals and the government justice and law systems. Factors like fingerprinting have also been developed in this category of the field of forensics. Much of this literature has been documented in most research papers. This practice in the identification of human remains is inevitable and very paramount in the field of the forensic science. In America, AFDIL has been at the forefront of identifying remains thus a major milestone to assisting the federal Government in attaining its mandate in the courts and legal system.

MTDNA Sequence Identification

This was developed by Dr. Mary-Claire King in the early 1970s. She used this method in the identification of the disappearing Argentina. She would match the mtDNA sequence of the children of parents were brutally murdered in political turmoil in the country. She even went further to identify their maternal grannies. Dr. Mark Stoneking claimed that the use of this technique in identifying a skull in the Desert of Mojave. This was in about three year’s time after a young girl went missing. Another milestone in this field was the experiment by Dr. Gill in 1994 in identifying Nicholas II plus the entire family. The AFDIL has employed the mtDNA sequencing in the identification of remains of service members brutally murdered in the South East Asian conflict. AFDIL has been performing tests that lead to the identifications of the others.

Skeletal Remains

The recovered remains from Southeast Asia vary in a very drastic manner in the quality and quantity. Some skeletal remains are indeed very virtually complete in areas where others have been disintegrated or dissolved in the acidic soils. This phenomenon is affected by the manner of interment, environment temperature, acidity of the soil and the length of interment. Changes in the environmental conditions may cause very varied differences in the rate of preservation of fossils in the burial sites.

Samples from bone specimens of the Southeast Asia show that these bones harbor only a very small percentage of the mtDNA which is very unpredictable yet very significant. These samples of mtDNA are very fragmented in the bone samples. The ease and quality of the bone to present some genetic information from the bone vary from different bones from different sites in the human skeleton. Teeth will yield mtDNA when a bone will not do the same.

When it is very necessary, it is very important to use the mtDNA in the family reference materials from the theoretically obtained from the exhumed remains of the deceased family relatives. At times, post Mortem reference specimens like the hair locks, paraffin embedded materials from the earlier biopsies and the neonatal blood stains utilized in the in the comparison of the deceased individuals. This was very evident in the identification of the relatives to the servicemen in the war at the Southeast Asia.

Ancient DNA

For purposes of proper identification using DNA in the field of the clinical anthropology, it is very important for the researcher to use a very intact DNA sample. This therefore, calls for the better preservation of the samples used in this experiment. It will help in the correct extraction process during the first or initial stages of the identification process. There is a new approach in the avenue followed in this area of research. This implies that the whole idea lies to the amplification of the DNA obtained from the old biological materials like mammoths, moss, tigers and mummies. This gives birth to the molecular paleontology field. This is where the ancient DNA is placed under very close scrutiny. There are evidence owing to the analysis of the ancient DNA from the early skeletal remains. This was used in the identification of the victims in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. This led to the extraction of the various samples from these individuals to be used in their identification and proper burial later at their respective areas of residence.

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