The Role of the Lab in Investigative Genetic Genealogy

Innovative Forensic Investigations (IFI), a leading investigative genetic genealogy company, explains how the importance of choosing the right lab plays into the successful results of cold case findings.

Emporia, Va. (January 2023) – Innovative Forensic Investigations (IFI), an investigative genetic genealogy firm providing services to law enforcement and government agencies nationwide, bring their client agencies through the entire collaborative process from first contact to conclusion. When an investigation hits a dead end, or a cold case is reopened, the investigative agent contacts an IFI representative. The first question usually concerns the lab where the evidence will be analyzed for DNA.

“The process by which we work with our client agencies is very transparent,” Jennifer Moore, CEO and founder of Innovative Forensics Investigations, commented. “Sometimes, working with an outside investigative genetic genealogy company is a first for an agency, and increasingly more often, we have repeat customers, but every case has different circumstances.”

Moore went on to explain that the IFI team, comprised of investigative genetic genealogists, legal experts, forensic consultants, and DNA experts all work with the client-agency to determine the best-suited lab for the case. The labs IFI works with all have like-minded people with the same goals of bringing answers to victims and families while upholding the integrity of the case. For Moore, an ethical partner that IFI and the client-agency can trust is paramount.

“Innovative Forensic Investigations does not have a contract with any one particular lab,” Moore emphasized. “It is crucial that the lab chosen can provide the exact service to extract the DNA for a positive analysis, otherwise, if you choose any lab, you run the risk of wasting the evidence or having an invalid analysis. The results can be detrimental, from a murder suspect never being identified, or a victim remaining unnamed. It is just not acceptable in our view.”

IFI works with multiple labs offering a variety of DNA sequencing and analysis. Several cases IFI has worked on included evidence in the form of human hair. IFI utilized the services of Astrea Forensics, one of the few labs that work with degraded samples including rootless hair. IFI frequently also uses the forensic testing and genealogy services of Gene by Gene, that not only offers state-of-the-art biotechnology, but also provides the FamilyTreeDNA database for familial matching purposes. Another lab IFI works with is DNA Labs International for their exceptional extraction ability.

Currently, IFI is working with Intermountain Forensics, an ANAB Accredited forensic testing laboratory. Intermountain Forensics, just recently, was able to build a profile from a mixed sample for IFI. Moore also mentions that in the very near future, IFI will also offer the new Kintelligence technology by Verogen, owners of GEDmatch, in which the forensically curated markers avoid the use of medically informative or minor allele frequency SNPs.

“Our role, as an investigative genetic genealogy company, is to provide our law enforcement and government agencies with the right tools to bring justice and peace of mind to thousands of families and individuals across the country,” Moore concluded. “Therefore, it is of the utmost importance in our collaborative approach with client agencies, to educate and inform, where the importance of lab analysis is crucial to the outcome of their case. We would never assume that any one particular lab can manage all types of evidence. We want to find the right match at the beginning of our casework, so as to provide the client-agency with sound DNA analysis and reporting that can take them to the next level of identification of a suspect or victim.”

For more information on Innovative Forensic Investigations or how your agency can work with IFI, visit Follow the conversation on IFI’s Facebook page.

About Innovative Forensic Investigations:

Innovative Forensic Investigations is an investigative genetic genealogy and private investigation firm providing services to agencies, working collaboratively through the entire lifecycle of the case, from submission to conclusion. Unique in the industry, Innovative Forensic Investigations combines years of expertise in law enforcement, forensics, legal, investigations, family & victim advocacy, and investigative genetic genealogy.  The dynamic skill set of the team can generate new leads and fresh perspectives in your investigations.

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