DNA lab helps identify more than 550 victims
In the past few years, law enforcement agencies have ramped up efforts to identify victims from unsolved “cold” cases, and the Center for Human Identification at the UNT Health Science Center was almost overwhelmed with the number of cases that flooded its office. Since 2003, more than 2,700 samples of human remains have been analyzed by the Health Science Center’s forensic experts, and the two-year backlog has been reduced by 95 percent. Of the 550 samples that resulted in associations, 77 were “cold hits” meaning that there was no previous association between the victim and the reference sample.
Technology improvements have played a large part in the ability of the renowned lab to match remains to reference samples provided by family members whose loved one is missing. In some cases, evidence may have been sitting in a medical examiner’s evidence closet waiting to be analyzed with new technological advances, or the victim’s family may not know about the opportunity to provide a reference sample.
With the addition of the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) at the FBI and state DNA databases, the Center for Human Identification is able to enter DNA profiles to facilitate identification with other laboratories. In fact, the UNT Health Science Center enters 50-60 percent of the DNA profiles in the CODIS National Missing Person DNA Database (NMPDD). When a DNA profile matches one already loaded into the database, a case can be solved that initially seemed unrelated to the evidence. In 2010, the Center for Human Identification has helped close 83 cases, 17 of which were “cold hits.”
By Steven Bartolotta The humanistic side of medicine is alive and well at Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. The TCOM Chapter of the Arnold P Gold Foundation inducted 45 students and four faculty members into the Gold Humanism Honor Society on the campus of The University of North Texas H...Read more
Jun 15, 2021
By Steven Bartolotta The PRECISION Pain Research Registry at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth has identified important racial disparities in pain management that became more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its study recently published in the special COVID...Read more
Jun 14, 2021
By Sally Crocker Dr. Diana Cervantes has spent the last year keeping people informed and updated on all things coronavirus, and now she’s being recognized as one of Fort Worth Inc.’s “400 Most Influential People” for helping protect the community’s health during the pandemic. Dr....Read more
Jun 8, 2021
By Diane Smith-Pinckney On June 19 1865, Major General Gordan Granger marched into Galveston with a critical message: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” This was the opening se...Read more
Jun 8, 2021