An Overview of Disaster Victim Identification

Genetic analysis can assist in determining the victims of mass fatalities when conventional techniques cannot be utilized or fail to generate conclusive results.

As next-generation sequencing (NGS) has no real limit on the number of loci that can be investigated at once, the most amount of information from a known reference sample or evidence can be extracted.

Traditional disaster victim identification techniques comprise odontology and fingerprints. Laboratories additionally use molecular techniques, for example, DNA analysis and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequencing with capillary electrophoresis.

The sample types investigated after a mass fatality event can entail buccal swabs from relatives, a range of personal effects containing DNA, tissue, and bone fragments.

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Multiple DNA Analyses Simultaneously, with < 100 pg of DNA

The aim of DNA testing for the identification of disaster victims is to acquire the most amount of genetic information possible from samples that have been highly compromised.

Selecting one assay frequently precludes the ability to perform another in the case of conventional DNA testing utilizing capillary electrophoresis (CE). Analysts must assess the evidentiary material and select which assay technique to carry out.

These tradeoffs are removed with Verogen NGS technology. The MiSeq FGx Forensic Genomics System has no restrictions on the number of loci that can be investigated in the same run of the same sample.

All appropriate loci can be assayed, including the core sets of autosomal, Y and X STRs, and multiple types of SNPs. The mtDNA control region and genome can additionally be investigated utilizing the same fast analysis software and workflow.

Workflow for Disaster Victim Identification

For the identification of disaster victims, Verogen provides a complete, fully validated DNA-to-data solution created for forensic genomics.

The suggested NGS workflow by Verogen comprises a tailored benchtop sequencing instrument, a dedicated library prep kit, and an analytical software package to streamline laboratory operations.

Verogen sequencing by synthesis (SBS) technology on the MiSeq FGx Forensic Genomics System blends several tests in one analysis. Attain exceptional precision and high resolution from tiny amounts of DNA, even with degraded DNA or complicated mixtures.

Sample and Library Preparation

Library Preparation:

ForenSeq DNA Signature Prep Kit (for nuclear DNA)

Assay around 200 genetic markers in one test. All reagents are included to produce sequencing libraries from forensic DNA samples.

ForenSeq mtDNA Control Region Kit

Investigate the mitochondrial DNA control region from degraded or high-quality samples.

ForenSeq mtDNA Whole Genome Kit

A completely integrated, sample-to-result whole genome mitochondrial solution.

Validated Solutions for Disaster Victim Identification

SNP & STR Analysis with NGS

NGS allows the genetic analysis of huge numbers of globally relevant STR markers and dense SNP sets in one test. Learn More »

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Forensic mtDNA Sequencing

NGS offers deep coverage of mtDNA to acquire genetic data from small forensic samples discovered in a substandard condition. Learn More »

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Additional Resources

mtDNA Sequencing to ID Skeletal Remains

Dr. Mitch Holland of Penn State outlines how high-throughput sequencing is allowing the power of mtDNA heteroplasmy in forensic research to be realized.

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Application Note

A Comprehensive Next-Generation Sequencing Workflow for Severely Degraded Nuclear DNA

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Data Sheet

ForenSeq™ mtDNA Control Region Solution Data Sheet

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About Verogen, Inc.

Introducing the world’s first sequencing company solely dedicated to forensic science. Forensic laboratories are unique, and require unique scientific solutions.

We get this. Because we live it. We create thoughtfully tailored genomic solutions for forensic DNA labs. The kinds of tools we longed for when we worked in those labs ourselves. We formed an independent company with dedicated resources because we believe it’s the best way to fully address those unique needs.

The last few decades have seen tremendous advancements in molecular biology techniques, such as massively parallel sequencing. While our colleagues in other scientific fields have embraced and benefited from these improvements, forensic genomics has yet to realize the potential of the evolved technology. It’s time we had modern tools tailored to our needs.

Verogen understands this. Our sole focus is to advance science to help unlock the true potential of forensic genomics. Powered by Illumina technology and free of legacy method allegiance, we are uniquely positioned to support forensic labs with innovative solutions purpose-built for the challenges of DNA identification. Working in partnership with the community, we can elevate the forensic genomics lab’s role in preserving public safety—and improve global justice for all.


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Last updated: Mar 11, 2020 at 4:16 AM

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