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QIAGEN and ICMP Launch Next-Generation DNA Testing Solutions for Identifying Missing Persons

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The solution integrates QIAGEN’s GeneReader NGS System and spans all aspects of the DNA laboratory workflow, from sample extraction through final analysis and thereby creates a unique “sample to insight” user experience. The workflow includes automated QIAGEN instruments and consumables for DNA extraction, liquid handling, quantification, sample preparation and next generation, Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS).

“QIAGEN’s support for ICMP is timely, focused, and substantial,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today. “Our partnership with QIAGEN and other leading technology companies makes it possible for us to maintain the ICMP laboratory system as the premier high-throughput, human identification DNA laboratory system in the world that is capable of responding – quickly, economically and effectively – to missing persons scenarios wherever they arise.”

QIAGEN Chief Executive Officer Peer Schatz said, “This collaboration springs from a shared passion for applying state-of-the-art technologies to address a very important and very challenging need. Wars, disasters and other events that separate victims from families leave behind unanswered questions and tremendous grief. We believe that that application of these state of the art technologies to this need has the potential to provide help to those experiencing such terrible uncertainty. ICMP’s global role in securing the cooperation of governments and other agencies to account for complicated or large-scale missing persons scenarios requires the very best DNA analysis workflow, and achieving this is a further example of QIAGEN’s mission of making improvements in life possible.”

ICMP and a number of academic institutes have worked closely with QIAGEN to develop a powerful SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) panel specifically designed for missing persons identification. The ICMP MPs-Plex targets more than 1,400 sites in the human genome, capitalizing on the power provided by Massively Parallel Sequencing. In addition to the custom panel, QIAGEN will supply software, reagents, consumables and technical support on an ongoing basis for ICMP.

Since 2001, ICMP has operated a state-of-the-art DNA laboratory system focused exclusively on missing persons identification. The system delivers high-throughput capabilities to assist governments in identifying large numbers of persons missing from conflict, human rights abuses, natural and manmade disasters, organized crime, irregular migration and other circumstances where persons go missing for involuntary reasons.

The system is designed to work on the most challenging cases, operates on a high-throughput scale, has generated DNA results on more than 50,000 cases of degraded skeletal remains and contributed to the identification of around 20,000 persons worldwide. ICMP’s new laboratory in The Hague aspires to maintain a capacity of up to 10,000 cases a year. Over the course of two decades, ICMP has responded to a wide variety of complex missing persons scenarios in over 40 countries, including assisting Bosnia and Herzegovina identify almost 90 percent of the approximately 8,000 victims of the Srebrenica genocide, and after the 2004 South East Asian Tsunami, in conjunction with INTERPOL, it deployed its forensic expertise as part of a major international Disaster Victim Identification program. The laboratory system is also a key component of ICMP’s Center of Excellence in Training and it supports ICMP's programs in the Western Balkans, the MENA region and Latin America.