QIAGEN to enhance the identification of human remains of Indigenous people and African Americans


Partnership with University of Montana drives the implementation of next-generation sequencing and forensic investigative genetic genealogy in identifying human remains // QIAGEN provides instruments, kits and training for building the first Indigenous-owned DNA database and identifying African American human remains // Collaboration underlines QIAGEN’s leading position in the use of next-generation sequencing for forensic applications and human identification

Missoula, Montana, and Venlo, the Netherlands, July 08, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — QIAGEN (NYSE: QGEN; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) today announced a partnership with the Snow Molecular Anthropology Lab at the University of Montana in the fields of human identification and forensics.

The partnership aims to provide forensic services for missing and murdered Indigenous people (MMIP) and unidentified human remains (UHRs) using DNA technologies such as next-generation sequencing (NGS) and forensic investigative genetic genealogy (FIGG).


Within this long-term partnership, QIAGEN supports the Snow Molecular Anthropology Lab with a MiSeq FGx sequencing system, training, ForenSeq Kintelligence kits and the ForenSeq Kintelligence HT System.

These tools will be used by the Snow Lab, in partnership with both the non-profit group Ohkomi Forensics, in building the first indigenous-owned DNA database with the ForenSeq Kintelligence HT system and the Principal Research Group collaborators in identifying the remains of 95 African American individuals unearthed during construction in Sugar Land, Texas (Sugarland 95 DNA project).

“Our collaboration with the Snow Lab exemplifies QIAGEN’s commitment to advancing forensic science and giving answers to victims and their families,” said Richard Price, Vice President and head of the HID and Forensics business at QIAGEN. “With our MiSeq FGx and the ForenSeq Kintelligence workflows, we provide forensic scientists with a complete next-generation sequencing solution for identifying human remains, ensuring accurate results and respectful handling of sensitive cases.”

Ohkomi Forensics, an NGO founded by University of Montana PhD student and Blackfeet tribal descendent Haley Omeasoo aims to provide forensic services to families affected by the MMIP epidemic which refers to higher incident rates of violent crimes and disappearances among indigenous people, particularly women and girls, in North America. Ohkomi Forensics will develop the first Indigenous-owned DNA database for the Blackfeet Nation while integrating culturally sensitive practices, using QIAGEN’s ForenSeq Kintelligence HT workflow.

Haley Omeasoo stated: “The Blackfeet tribe is trying to identify family members, but, like many others affected by the MMIP epidemic, we’re struggling to find answers. ‘Ohkomi’ means to “to use one’s voice” in Blackfeet. I started Ohkomi Forensics because I wanted to use my voice to help my people, and using ForenSeq Kintelligence HT allows us to observe our cultural practices while we respectfully identify and rematriate our loved ones using modern technologies.”

Additionally, Dr. Meradeth Snow, Associate Professor and Co-Chair of Anthropology at the University of Montana and collaborator with the Principal Research Group, will continue work on the identification of remains from the Sugar Land 95 DNA project. It involves the discovery of 95 unmarked graves of African American individuals who were part of the convict leasing system in Texas, a practice in the late 19th and early 20th century where prisoners were leased out to perform labor, often in brutal conditions, as a means of continuing forced labor post-slavery.

Dr. Snow noted, “The DNA analysis and bioinformatics required for a project like this can be very challenging. The ForenSeq Kintelligence workflow was designed for challenging samples, addresses concerns about misuse of genetic information, and streamlines the analysis, allowing us to quickly and easily scale our efforts to provide answers to families more efficiently, while maintaining the highest ethical standards possible.”

QIAGEN’s NGS and FIGG technology used in its MiSeq FGx instrument and ForenSeq Kintelligence workflow can deliver results from severely degraded or contaminated DNA and challenging samples, which are common in forensics. Even when immediate family references are not available, the unique genetic profiles generated with these technologies provide valuable investigative leads. The workflows are designed for easy adoption into the forensic lab to make the FIGG technique readily accessible to solve more cases, bringing closure to affected families.

About Forensic Anthropology at the University of Montana

The Anthropology Department at the University of Montana aims to teach, conduct research, and provide professional services to the community to advance the understanding of the human condition and its relevancy to an increasingly diverse world. The Forensic Anthropology wing within the department focuses on skeletal analysis and (bio)archaeological techniques, with expertise in forensic anthropology, ancient DNA, forensic DNA and skeletal analysis. The department features the Snow Molecular Anthropology Lab, focused on analyzing ancient and degraded DNA for anthropological and forensic purposes. The facilities include both a dedicated ancient and degraded DNA laboratory and a modern DNA lab.

About QIAGEN’s forensics and human identification portfolio

QIAGEN has a leading position in the human identification and forensics market, having pioneered the introduction of commercial DNA purification kits for forensic casework samples in the late 1990s. Today, its comprehensive portfolio includes solutions for processing sexual assault samples, identifying missing persons, age estimation and tissue identification, anthropology research and kinship testing.

After the acquisition of Verogen in 2023, QIAGEN is the only company to offer a complete and integrated range of forensic solutions using PCR, dPCR, and NGS technologies. Its solutions for sample collection and preparation, assay set up and quantification, sequencing, bioinformatics and a genealogy database support law enforcement and forensic researchers through every step in the human identification pipeline

For more information on QIAGEN’s forensic solutions, visit: https://www.qiagen.com/us/applications/human-identity-and-forensics.


QIAGEN N.V., a Netherlands-based holding company, is the leading global provider of Sample to Insight solutions that enable customers to gain valuable molecular insights from samples containing the building blocks of life. Our sample technologies isolate and process DNA, RNA and proteins from blood, tissue and other materials. Assay technologies make these biomolecules visible and ready for analysis. Bioinformatics software and knowledge bases interpret data to report relevant, actionable insights. Automation solutions tie these together in seamless and cost-effective workflows. QIAGEN provides solutions to more than 500,000 customers around the world in Molecular Diagnostics (human healthcare) and Life Sciences (academia, pharma R&D and industrial applications, primarily forensics). As of March 31, 2024, QIAGEN employed more than 5,900 people in over 35 locations worldwide. Further information can be found at https://www.qiagen.com.

Forward-Looking Statement

Certain statements contained in this press release may be considered forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. To the extent that any of the statements contained herein relating to QIAGEN’s products, timing for launch and development, marketing and/or regulatory approvals, financial and operational outlook, growth and expansion, collaborations, markets, strategy or operating results, including without limitation its expected adjusted net sales and adjusted diluted earnings results, are forward-looking, such statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that involve a number of uncertainties and risks. Such uncertainties and risks include, but are not limited to, risks associated with management of growth and international operations (including the effects of currency fluctuations, regulatory processes and dependence on logistics), variability of operating results and allocations between customer classes, the commercial development of markets for our products to customers in academia, pharma, applied testing and molecular diagnostics; changing relationships with customers, suppliers and strategic partners; competition; rapid or unexpected changes in technologies; fluctuations in demand for QIAGEN’s products (including fluctuations due to general economic conditions, the level and timing of customers’ funding, budgets and other factors); our ability to obtain regulatory approval of our products; difficulties in successfully adapting QIAGEN’s products to integrated solutions and producing such products; the ability of QIAGEN to identify and develop new products and to differentiate and protect our products from competitors’ products; market acceptance of QIAGEN’s new products and the integration of acquired technologies and businesses; actions of governments, global or regional economic developments, weather or transportation delays, natural disasters, political or public health crises, and its impact on the demand for our products and other aspects of our business, or other force majeure events; as well as the possibility that expected benefits related to recent or pending acquisitions may not materialize as expected; and the other factors discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” contained in Item 3 of our most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F. For further information, please refer to the discussions in reports that QIAGEN has filed with, or furnished to, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Source: QIAGEN N.V.
Category: Corporate

CONTACT: John Gilardi QIAGEN N.V. +49 2103 29 11711 [email protected] Domenica Martorana QIAGEN N.V. +49 2103 29 11244 [email protected] Thomas Theuringer QIAGEN N.V. +49 2103 29 11826 [email protected] Lisa Mannagottera QIAGEN N.V. +49 2103 29 14181 [email protected] 

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