Announcements & News

April 2006

Marshall Forensic Science Center announces the rollout of DNA preservation and testing services to WV funeral homes

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:

Participating Funeral Homes
Funeral Home City State
Klingel-Carpenter Mortuary Huntington WV
Bartlett -Burdette-Cox Funeral Home Charleston WV
Blue Ridge Funeral Home Beckley WV
Calfee Funeral Service Pineville WV
Casdorph & Curry Funeral Home St. Albans WV
Dodd-Payne-Hess Funeral Home Fayetteville WV
Evans Funeral Home Oceana WV
Stevens & Grass Funeral Home Charleston WV
Teague Funeral Service Charlottesville VA
Tyler Mountain Funeral Home Cross Lanes WV
Williams-Blue Ridge Funeral Home Sophia WV
Wilson Funeral Home Charleston WV

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.