You may think crime scene DNA analysis is only done on TV’s CSI, but the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s System Center for Human Identification made its 100th DNA match last week, allowing 100 victims’ families and friends to put aside the search for their missing loved ones. In fact, the DNA lab, located in Fort Worth’s cultural district, is one of only three authorized by the FBI for use in identifying human remains.
“These matches are associated with remains that could not be identified by fingerprints, dental records, anthropological reviews or a visual identification by a family member,” said Arthur Eisenberg, PhD, director of the DNA identity lab. “The vast majority of unidentified remains cases are the result of a violent crime, and, in many cases, the identification is the first solid lead in the investigation of the homicide. Identifications made by the Center for Human Identification have already helped in the conviction and sentencing of multiple perpetrators. By taking these perpetrators off of the streets, the public is safer and families finally have accountability for the loss of their loved one.”
The Center is funded through grants awarded by the National Institute of Justice and provides DNA testing for unidentified human remains and family reference samples for law enforcement agencies across the country, including the FBI, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, California Department of Justice, the National Center for Missing Adults, and missing persons clearinghouses. Since 2002, the Center has provided testing at no charge to these agencies through federally funded grants.
After DNA profiles are taken from samples, they are entered into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). The lab searches family reference samples against unidentified human remains samples from local, state and national level agencies, which result in the identification of remains.
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