A California lab has been certified to conduct forensic mitochondrial DNA sequencing, NBC Bay Area reports, adding that this will aid in missing persons cases.
It notes that mitochondrial testing is typically performed when remains being analyzed are too degraded to undergo typical DNA testing. Currently, though, most mitochondrial testing examines only about 5 percent of the mitochondrial genome. With this new certification — which NBC Bay Area says is the first given to a state crime lab — the California Department of Justice lab will be allowed to sequence the entire mitochondrial genome.
According to a press release from the attorney general's office, this approach will allow investigators to uncover additional haplotypes that can then be used to identify remains from previously unknown people, by comparing them to samples from family members.
"Anything we can do to help families find closure is critical," California's Attorney General Xavier Becerra says in a statement.