Forensic Science Center announces the
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Marshall University Forensic Science Center is offering DNA preservation and testing services to local funeral homes, Dr. Terry Fenger, director of the center, announced today.
Through the MUFSC, family members served by the participating funeral homes will have the opportunity to preserve a sample from their family members’ DNA, which can be used in the future for gene testing, inheritance, and identification purposes. Strict confidentiality of services provided to families will be maintained.
Family members who purchase a preserved DNA sample will receive a labeled, sealed sample placed in an engraved metal case displaying the individual’s name and “Preserved DNA Sample.” The funeral home delivers the preserved DNA sample to the family or authorized representative who finalizes the process by signing the chain of custody form, assuring that their privacy has been protected.
Fenger said the center is the only resident DNA laboratory in West Virginia that provides DNA identification and family relationship testing services. “The mortuary services we are offering to the funeral homes are unique for an organization in West Virginia, and it’s a way to utilize our scientific expertise to provide services to the public,” he said.
The rollout of the mortuary services includes 12 funeral homes. The funeral homes participating are: Klingel-Carpenter Mortuary, Huntington, W.Va.; Bartlett -Burdette-Cox Funeral Home, Charleston, W.Va.; Blue Ridge Funeral Home, Beckley, W.Va.; Calfee Funeral Service, Pineville, W.Va.; Casdorph & Curry Funeral Home, St. Albans, W.Va.; Dodd-Payne-Hess Funeral Home, Fayetteville, W.Va.; Evans Funeral Home, Oceana, W.Va.; Stevens & Grass Funeral Home, Charleston, W.Va.; Teague Funeral Service in Charlottesville, Va.; Tyler Mountain Funeral Home, Cross Lanes, W.Va.; Williams-Blue Ridge Funeral Home, Sophia, W.Va.; and Wilson Funeral Home, Charleston, W.Va.
MUFSC and Klingel-Carpenter Mortuary began conducting a beta test of the services in August 2004. Tim Carpenter of Klingel-Carpenter Mortuary said families have been very receptive to this new service.
Marshall University Forensic Science Center also offers paternity, family relationship testing and DNA identification services through MU Parentage Testing Services, one of the university’s first economic development ventures in biotechnology.
MUFSC is accredited by Forensic Quality Services – International (FQS-I) for forensic testing, DNA databasing and as an ISO 17025 testing laboratory. It also is accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) as a parentage testing laboratory.