Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Sex estimation of teeth at different developmental stages using dimorphic enamel peptide analysis

Gowland, Rebecca; Stewart, Nicolas A.; Crowder, Kayla D.; Hodson, Claire; Shaw, Heidi; Gron, Kurt J.; Montgomery, Janet

Sex estimation of teeth at different developmental stages using dimorphic enamel peptide analysis Thumbnail


Nicolas A. Stewart

Kayla D. Crowder

Profile Image

Heidi Shaw
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy

Profile Image

Dr Kurt Gron
Research Development Manager


Objectives This study tests, for the first time, the applicability of a new method of sex estimation utilizing enamel peptides on a sample of deciduous and permanent teeth at different stages of mineralization, from nonadults of unknown sex, including perinates. Materials and methods A total of 43 teeth from 29 nonadult individuals aged from 40 gestational weeks to 19 years old were analyzed. The sample included pairs of fully mineralized and just developing teeth from the same individual. The individuals were from four archaeological sites in England: Piddington (1st–2nd centuries AD), Coach Lane, Victoria Gate, and Fewston (all 18th–19th centuries). A method that identifies sex chromosome‐linked isoforms of the peptide amelogenin from human tooth enamel was applied. The method utilizes a minimally destructive acid etching procedure and subsequent nano liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Results It was possible to determine the sex of 28 of the nonadult individuals sampled (males = 20, females = 8, undetermined = 1). Only one sample failed (CL9), due to insufficient mineralization of the sampled tooth enamel. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD021683. Discussion Sufficient peptide material to determine sex can be recovered even from the crowns of developing perinatal teeth that are not fully mineralized. The minimally destructive and inexpensive (compared to ancient DNA) nature of this procedure has significant implications for bioarchaeological studies of infancy and childhood.


Gowland, R., Stewart, N. A., Crowder, K. D., Hodson, C., Shaw, H., Gron, K. J., & Montgomery, J. (2021). Sex estimation of teeth at different developmental stages using dimorphic enamel peptide analysis. American journal of physical anthropology,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 25, 2020
Online Publication Date Jan 21, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Feb 4, 2021
Publicly Available Date Feb 5, 2021
Journal American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Print ISSN 0002-9483
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed


Published Journal Article (Early view) (2.6 Mb)

Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
Early view © 2021 The Authors. American Journal of Physical Anthropology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations