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DNA Labs International Paves New Ways for Identification With Major Breakthrough in Unique Case

Whether it be identification in 90 minutes or the identification of a person of interest from a 40-year-old cold case, DNA Labs International has the technology to get the case solved

DNA Labs International, which specializes in forensic DNA analysis and genetic genealogy for law enforcement agencies, attorneys, and government forensic labs, has announced the use of its demineralization extraction technique in a unique case. After partnering with Dr. Julie Schablitsky, the lab successfully utilized their bone testing method to extract DNA from the nails of a mummified, unidentified female from the 1930s. This case, which was featured on part 3 of the miniseries The Dig: A Maryland Mystery Lady Part 3 by MPT Studios, saw DNA Labs International leverage the power of its demineralization DNA testing technology.

“Not all forensic cases are criminal in nature, but they remain important to solve nonetheless,” said Rachel Oefelein, Director of Research and Innovation at DNA Labs International.

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Advances in technology have expanded the options for human identification in recent years. The use of forensic genetic genealogy (FGG), in particular, has increased the need for developing the way in which DNA is obtained from forensic samples that will be suitable for downstream single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) testing – required processes for FGG.

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Before this advancement in technology, degraded skeletal remains posed a large challenge in traditional forensic casework. DNA Labs International added a large-scale DNA extraction method in the past year in response to the need for larger yields of DNA for FGG. With this addition, a single extraction can result in the quantity of DNA required for FGG, whereas previous methods often required multiple extractions. A small-scale DNA extraction method remains online for smaller fragments of bone and teeth. This method can even be employed for fingernails and toenails.

The unfortunate reality is that mass disasters continue to occur in our country from both criminal and natural causes that require the rapid identification of victims in an effort to bring closure to their respective families. DNA Labs International developed a specialized bone protocol on the RapidHIT ID. It can be utilized to develop DNA profiles from recent remains from bones, teeth, muscle, and tissue in as little as 90 minutes and is an excellent choice for disaster victim identification (DVI) from explosions, automobile and plane crashes, time-sensitive cases, missing person cases, and paternity/kinship comparisons. Additionally, RapidHIT DNA can be utilized for the reassociation of highly fragmented remains. This technology is made possible by utilizing the Applied Biosystems RapidHIT ID System, which can be employed in the extraction of high-quality skeletonized remains.

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Paving a path moving forward in human identification technology, DNA Labs International continues to expand and innovate. To yield more efficient genetic results, DNA Labs International is currently implementing Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) on the NDIS-approved MiSeq FGx platform by Verogen. NGS technology is more sensitive and can even be used to pinpoint phenotypic markers like hair, skin, and eye color, with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) testing. This data will provide investigative leads that will allow an agency to narrow down a suspect pool immediately. Also, targeted testing will transform how to solve difficult DNA evidence cases, such as cases with bones or degraded DNA that have not yet yielded a CODIS hit or a match to a known suspect’s DNA profile.

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