Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,500,000)
Establishing a Forensic Genetic Genealogy and Mitochondrial DNA Testing and Research Unit at the Marshall University Forensic Science Center
Marshall University Forensic Science Center (MUFSC) proposes to implement a Forensic Genetic Genealogy and Mitochondrial DNA Testing and Research Unit. Advances in DNA sequencing technology (i.e., MPS, or Massively Parallel Sequencing) have made FGG and forensic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis a more cost-effective tool, transforming law enforcement investigations by helping to solve previously unsolvable cases. However, as with any new technology introduced to the field, such as MPS, there is a need for research, education and training, and testing services. As demonstrated by similar successful projects in the past, with the addition of MPS and mtDNA analysis, MUFSC will address these needs by building from our current foundation of technology and experts, specifically focusing on providing research and services to the criminal justice and forensic communities. Specific project activities will include acquiring the appropriate instrumentation, making necessary laboratory changes, designing and executing a validation plan, creating appropriate Standard Operating Procedures, and applying for accreditation scope expansion. The expected outcomes from this project include providing research, education, and services in the area of forensic mtDNA analysis and DNA sequencing for FGG investigations. Once developed, it is anticipated that this resource will be a part of the sustained activities MUFSC has provided to the forensic community for the past 20 years.