Humanitarian DNA Identification Database (HDID) – An Update – ISHI News


Humanitarian DNA Identification Database (HDID) – An Update

Tuesday September 19th, 2023 // 11:25 am - 11:45 am // Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center, Centennial Ballroom

Due to the increase of global migration, missing person and unidentified, deceased person cases can have a cross-border impact. Often these cases are difficult to resolve in a national DNA database system. Through collaboration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification (UNTCHI) have developed the HDID to assist with the identification of deceased non-United States citizens recovered in the United States. Operated by UNTCHI and supported by the FBI’s CODIS software, the HDID enables family references voluntarily contributed by foreign nationals to be compared to genetic information obtained from unidentified, deceased individuals.


Conceptualized in 2018 in response to the challenges encountered by international agencies and non-governmental organizations in identifying deceased individuals recovered along migration routes in the South Western region of the United States, the building of the database was initially slowed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The process of establishing the database and results of recent searches will be discussed.


Private: Melody Josserand

CODIS Administrator, University of North Texas Center for Human Identification (UNTCHI)

Melody Josserand has been a Forensic DNA Analyst with the University of Texas Center for Human Identification (UNTCHI) from 2003-2008, and is currently the CODIS Administrator. Her areas of interest include missing migrant identification along the U.S.-Mexico border and working with Central America to build DNA legislation and databases.

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