Maxillary lateral incisor agenesis
Maxillary lateral incisor agenesis (MLIA) is lack of development (agenesis) of one or both of the maxillary lateral incisor teeth. In normal human dentition, this would be the second tooth on either side from the center of the top row of teeth. The condition is bilateral if the incisor is absent on both sides or unilateral if only one is smissing. It appears to have a genetic component.
Use in anthropology
Because MLIA can be detected from partial skeletal remains, it is useful in the field of anthropology. Anthropologically-interesting human remains often have relatively well preserved skeletons, but no soft tissues or intact DNA. This makes it hard to determine relationships between the deceased individuals. MLIA is sometimes related to inbreeding, so the presence of MLIA in many members of a large collection of remains can indicate that the population that lived there was relatively inbred. This technique has been used to study a group of Neolithic farmers.
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