Abbott has entered into a collaboration agreement with the University of North Texas (UNT) Health Science Center.

Under the agreement, UNT Center will use Abbott’s PLEX-ID instrument to analyze human remains to support missing persons and human trafficking investigations.

As part of the research, Abbott has installed a PLEX-ID analyzer at UNT Health Science Center and is supplying the PLEX-ID mtDNA assay to characterize mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from aged or degraded biological specimens, such as hair, tissue, bones, teeth and body fluids.

PLEX-ID combines two molecular technologies including polymerase chain reaction and high precision electrospray ionization mass spectrometry to establish and compare the base mtDNA profile derived from biological specimens.

Abbott’s Ibis Biosciences subsidiary research and development divisional vice president Steven Hofstadler said the ability of PLEX-ID to rapidly analyze mtDNA from highly degraded samples allows forensic scientists to quickly and confidently perform mtDNA tests on samples that otherwise would not yield information.

"The PLEX-ID mtDNA assay is more discriminating than conventional methods and can be used to characterize samples containing DNA from more than one person," Hofstadler said.