Standing Capacity


DNA Identification System

ICMP maintains a DNA identity testing system dedicated to identifying persons missing as a result of armed conflict, human rights abuses, disasters and other circumstances around the world.

ICMP’s DNA identification system relies on integrated DNA testing laboratories, which are located in The Hague. The DNA laboratories have a highly developed capacity to obtain DNA profiles from very difficult cases of unidentified human remains, such as bone samples from decades-old mass graves. ICMP has conducted the world’s largest missing persons DNA testing program, having successfully tested more than 50,000 bone samples and established a database of almost 100,000 family reference DNA profiles to support the identification of almost 20,000 missing persons.

ICMP uses a variety of nuclear autosomal STR systems in its large scale DNA testing, as well as Y-chromosomal DNA testing when this is necessary to finalize identifications. ICMP is currently pioneering the use of Massively Parallel Sequencing technology for the purpose of human identification of persons missing for involuntary reasons, greatly expanding the range of identification cases that can be resolved.

The basis for DNA identifications is to match DNA profiles from unidentified human remains to DNA profiles from family members of the missing. Large databases of DNA profiles from the missing and the families are compared using ICMP’s specialized database software. A “DNA match” means that a set of human remains have been identified by matching the genetic profile of the remains to those of family relatives at a very high rate of statistical surety.

ICMP’s DNA identification system has been used to support identification projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Chile, Cyprus, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, the United States, Canada, Norway, Cameroon, Greece and South Africa.

DNA Processing Capacity

Because of its specialized expertise and ability to test large numbers of difficult samples from human remains, the ICMP DNA Laboratory System offers a globally accessible resource for DNA testing. ICMP is able to provide DNA testing assistance on large-scale projects, involving thousands of cases, and it is able to conduct DNA testing quickly.