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researcher working in a forensic genomics lab

New DNA Technology Is Helping Ohio Identify Missing Persons


Posted by Ann Thompson on Dec 7, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio (December 7, 2020)—Ohio has its first success in identifying skeletal remains using a technology not previously available to the state's crime labs.

Twenty-two-year-old Dewayne Lewis went missing from his Toledo home in 2013. This spring, hunters discovered human bones. In November, detectives at the Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) were able to identify those remains as Lewis thanks to a partnership with the global research and development organization Battelle.

Battelle picked out the instrumentation and processes that would work best for BCI to take mitochondrial DNA and test it using massively parallel sequencing. Mitochondrial DNA lives in the energy pockets of the cells and is passed down on the mother's side. It's present in tens of thousands of copies of every cell in the body, and because there are so many, scientists are able to generate a profile even when they don't have much to work with, as was the case of Dewayne Lewis.

"We now may be able to match, identify them with a missing person report," Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost told WVXU. "That opens up a whole new investigating avenue."

Read the full article here.

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