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Battelle Life Sciences Research CRO+ Today

Battelle Applied Genomics Today

September 2015 - Issue 2

U.S. Defense Forensic Science Center to Use New Genetics Technology to Aid Investigations

Battelle’s ExactID is first tool to help investigators pinpoint genetic makeup of persons of interest

COLUMBUS, Ohio (August 19, 2015) - Battelle’s revolutionary new software, ExactID®, will be engaged by investigators at the U.S. Defense Forensic Science Center under a new agreement.

ExactID is the first commercial forensic genomics software system that lets forensic investigators harvest the power of next-generation sequencing data in a format suited for routine laboratory analysis.  ExactID provides the information needed to determine specific, identifying traits – such as hair and eye color, race, who a person may be related to, where they may live– from an unmatched DNA sample. This has not been possible before.
 
“The advent of next-generation sequencing is the most significant breakthrough in forensic DNA science in 20 years. DNA has long been considered as objective evidence and ExactID greatly improves our ability to use DNA as an investigative tool,” said Rich Guerrieri, Research Leader for Battelle’s Applied Genomics business unit and former Chief of the FBI Laboratory’s nuclear DNA casework and database units. “It narrows the net and makes an investigation more objective and reliable.”

The Defense Forensic Science Center, (formerly the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory), purchased ExactID from developer Battelle, the world’s largest independent research and development organization. Located at the Ft. Gillem Enclave in Forest Park, GA., the Center is part of the Defense Forensics and Biometrics Agency.
 
This first use in the field by a U.S. Government agency will put ExactID through the rigors of real world investigation. As use and reliance on the data produced by ExactID increases, Battelle experts expect other law enforcement agencies to adopt it in their investigations.
 
This advance in next-generation sequencing stems from the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, which uncovered thousands of biomarkers that can be applied to DNA-based forensics.
 
Traditionally, when DNA samples collected from a crime scene did not match the DNA of a potential suspect nor samples from various law enforcement databases, this would mean a setback for the investigation and potentially a dead end for the DNA evidence.  Now, law enforcement can use a single “unmatched” DNA sample to draw important conclusions.
 
ExactID is also in the process of being utilized by laboratories engaged in an $825,000 research grant awarded to Battelle by the National Institute of Justice.
 
Battelle will be demonstrating ExactID at the 2015 ISHI (International Symposium on Human Identification), October 12–15, 2015 in Grapevine, Texas.