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Using DNA Technology to Identify the Missing

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $320,561)

In an effort to assist in the identification of missing persons, Bode Cellmark Forensics
proposes to perform DNA analysis on unidentified human remains and/or reference
samples to support the upload of resulting DNA profiles to CODIS. As a leading provider
of such DNA analysis services, this application details the use of a nuclear based DNA approach as an alternative to more common anthropology and mitochondrial DNA based approaches – through which Bode Cellmark recently has proven successful in identifying a missing World War II soldier from 70-year old bone fragments. This approach will reduce the turnaround time and costs often associated with mitochondrial DNA testing,and will increase the number of CODIS laboratories able to upload the resulting DNA profiles.
Bode Cellmark has assisted many nations with testing more than 30,000 human remains,
which includes missing persons cases. These have included inter-communal conflicts
from 1960-1970 in Cyprus, 1970s “Dirty War” in Argentina, mass graves in Guatemala
and Peru, missing migrants throughout Central America, victims of natural disasters in Thailand and from Hurricane Katrina, earthquakes, and airline crashes in Africa, and both North and South America.
For this proposal, Bode Cellmark has identified 15 agencies that have agreed to submit missing persons cases to Bode Cellmark under this grant, including the commitment of at least 334 unidentified human remains and 182 family reference samples, and has provided letters of support from each of these agencies. In addition to the identified samples, Bode Cellmark has requested funding for an additional 50 unidentified remains.
This is based on blanket letters of support received where an indication of the number of
samples could not be made as well as recent marketing efforts by Bode Cellmark to
increase awareness of the missing persons program and Bode Cellmark’s ability to
process these remains. In addition, Bode Cellmark has obtained agreements with the
California Department of Justice and Baltimore City Police Department for the upload of DNA profiles to CODIS.
Bode Cellmark’s proven ability in providing DNA identification services, successful
performance on three previous NIJ grants for the identification of the missing, forensic
experience, and processing capacity will allow Bode Cellmark to assist in achieving the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ) goal under this solicitation. ca/ncf

Date Created: September 16, 2015