New DNA testing kits designed to help forensic laboratories analyze hard-to-identify human remains are being launched commercially by a company housed in New Orleans' BioInnovation Center.
Officials at the BioInnovation Center said InnoGenomics' proprietary technology will be useful in making identifications from challenging evidence, such as rootless hair shafts as well as human remains in cold cases, mass casualty incidents, missing military personnel cases and other difficult investigations.
The BioInnovation Center said InnoGenomics' testing kits have been used in identifications from Civil War- and World War II-era remains.
InnoGenomics Technologies said its kits — InnoTyper 21 and InnoQuant HY — will help forensic DNA labs analyze biological samples that frequently fail with traditional systems because of degradation or low quantities of DNA. Forensic experts report that up to 35 percent of all DNA evidence samples fail to produce useful results with standard methods, the company said.
InnoGenomics said its testing kits overcome those challenges and also are compatible with current laboratory instrumentation.
“We believe these kits offer a practical and cost-effective way for human identification laboratories to significantly improve their capabilities,” said Dr. Sudhir Sinha, president and chief executive officer of InnoGenomics.
InnoGenomics developed its technology with funding support from the National Science Foundation and in collaboration with leading forensic scientists and institutions.
“We have seen the power of both the InnoQuant and InnoTyper systems to get nuclear DNA results from very compromised samples, even those that are over 150 years old. These new technologies will help us get answers in some of our most difficult cases,” Dr. Jose Lorente, director of the University of Granada Genetic Identification Laboratory in Spain, said in a press release statement.
Dr. Bruce Budowle, director of the University of North Texas Health Science Center for Human Identification, said its studies have shown that the InnoTyper 21 kit can recover information from extremely challenging skeletal remains that have failed to yield results using other methods.
"We are planning to implement the system and expect it to become an important tool for us,” he said in a press release statement.
Results from internal and external validation studies of InnoGenomics' kits will be presented at the International Symposium on Human Identification being held next week in Minneapolis.
InnoGenomics Technologies also is developing a blood test for cancer detection and monitoring.