The ICD operates as the central nexus for the coordination of samples, data, and DNA matching for all cases processed by the ICMP from any part of the world. Samples of human mortal remains are submitted to the ICD either from ICMP mortuary facilities or outside authorities, and in this way enter into the ICMP DNA testing process. Likewise, DNA reference samples from families of the missing are obtained, together with all associated information, and a missing persons file is established for each case.
At the ICD, all blood or other types of reference samples and samples taken from mortal remains are immediately made anonymous through a bar-code tracking process, so that all “downstream” analysis is inherently neutral with regard to the ethnic origin or nature of the sample. The samples for DNA analysis are then distributed to ICMP’s DNA laboratories, and when DNA results are obtained, the DNA profiles are returned to the ICD for genetic matching. Genetic matching is carried out independently from any pre-existing hypotheses of identity, and is applied to very large databases of family reference DNA profiles on a regional scale.
DNA matching between mortal remains and families is performed at the ICD with ICMP-developed matching software, and final kinship statistics are generated using all the relatives of the missing using the computer program DNAView. ICD then coordinates with the DNA laboratories for the formal review process of all DNA data, together with the associated family and antemortem information to generate DNA match reports. Match reports are then provided to the end users at ICMP mortuary facilities or other outside entities. At the forensic science level, the ICD functions as the primary link between legal authorities who submit samples and later receive ICMP reports. ICD also manages ICMP’s reference blood sample collection efforts.
ICD coordinates the production of ICMP tracking charts on the progress of the collection of samples and the generation of DNA match reports. In addition, a “Notice of DNA Reports Submitted” is regularly given to governments that receive ICMP assistance.