DNA Lab Overview
The University of North Texas Center for Human Identification (UNTCHI), a project of the National Institute of Justice, assists law enforcement officials across the country in missing persons investigations. Law enforcement agencies and medical examiners can submit samples to UNTCHI to be processed for DNA free of charge. The DNA results are entered into the multi-tiered Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and searched against other unidentified cases and the families of missing persons.
Assisting with more than 180 identifications made from Hawaii to New York, the UNTCHI is dedicated to providing valuable genetic information to agencies for the identification of the loved ones whose lives have been cut short. Every John and Jane Doe has the right to reclaim their true identity.
UNTCHI consists of the Laboratory of Molecular Identification, housed in Fort Worth, and the Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology, located in Denton. The Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology examines unidentified human remains to provide information regarding useful forensic investigative details and the cause and manner of death. Additionally, the Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology can assist in making identifications using medical records. The Laboratory of Molecular Identification develops genetic profiles from unidentified human remains and family references using cutting-edge DNA techniques and analysis.
UNTCHI is one of eight DNA labs in the United States which routinely uploads genetic information into the missing persons database of CODIS. CODIS is a software program that houses and searches genetic information from the unidentified human remains and the families of missing persons for possible associations.
UNTCHI is accredited for paternity testing by the American Association of Blood Banks. The forensic casework laboratory is accredited by Forensic Quality Services-International to show compliance with the FBI's DNA Quality Assurance document and the standards of ISO/IEC 17025.
Originally called the Texas Missing Persons DNA Database, the database at UNTCHI was established in 2001 with funding provided by the Texas Attorney General's Crime Victims Compensation Fund. The laboratory began processing samples for database entry from Texas law enforcement agencies in March 2003. Texas was the first state with a Missing Persons laboratory capable of analyzing both mitochondrial and nuclear (STR) DNA and was also the first to participate in the federal CODIS database for missing persons.
UNTCHI receives funding from the National Institutes of Justice and the State of Texas to process missing persons cases. These funds allow UNTCHI to offer services free of charge for the law enforcement agencies and the families with missing loved ones.
UNTCHI has provided scientific and technical support for Texas law enforcement agencies and crime labs for over 10 years.