The alliance between database stewards will standardize bioinformatic methods for FIGG analysis and offer cost-effective whole genome sequencing services for challenging forensic samples.
SAN DIEGO, CALIF. (08/15/2022) — Verogen, Inc. and Gene by Gene today announced a partnership to accelerate the adoption of forensic investigative genetic genealogy. As part of the agreement, Gene by Gene, parent company of FamilyTreeDNA, will support DNA uploads generated from the Verogen ForenSeq Kintelligence kit, the only ANAB accredited technology approved for forensic investigative genetic genealogy (FIGG). This partnership effectively doubles the number of profiles available for FIGG matching. Leveraging database knowledge, scientists from both organizations will also create superior algorithms and software that increase the probability of generating uploadable single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) profiles and lower bioinformatic costs enabling standardization of the FIGG workflow.
FIGG is a DNA-based investigative lead-generation technique that leverages genotyping and next-generation sequencing technologies to identify perpetrators of violent crime, exonerate the innocent, and identify missing persons. Verogen’s GEDmatch database and Gene by Gene’s genealogical database are the only databases that enable FIGG and have cumulatively helped resolve over 500 cold cases that were previously considered unsolvable. This long-term partnership aims to ensure that all uploads adhere to the terms set forth by Verogen and Gene by Gene, including existing requirements to opt-in to the genetic witness program to show up as a familial connection, and standardize analysis options and bioinformatic methods.
“Verogen is working to deliver industry-leading, operationally-relevant DNA sequencing workflows to forensic laboratories through our own innovations as well as with strategic partnerships that enhance our offerings,” said Brett Williams, Chief Executive Officer at Verogen. “The launch of ForenSeq Kintelligence gave public crime labs a cost-effective solution that minimizes broad medical privacy concerns and is aligned with forensic quality assurance standards. Currently, FIGG is expensive and slow. By applying database context to create best-in-class toolsets for commonly used methods, like imputation, and allowing labs to upload ForenSeq Kintelligence profiles to the Gene by Gene database, this partnership will drive an impactful shift in the efficiency and time of analysis.”
“Verogen and Gene by Gene are committed to ensuring all law enforcement agencies, regardless of size or budget, have the ability to utilize FIGG as a resource,” said Dr. Lior Rauchberger, Chief Executive Officer at Gene by Gene. “By combining our unique areas of expertise, we will offer advanced technologies such as whole genome sequencing to key partners, and remove bottlenecks with optimized, transparent, and accessible informatics toolsets. Enabling ForenSeq Kintelligence uploads in Gene by Gene’s database maximizes the impact of a workflow that many in the forensic community are currently validating.”
Verogen is a dedicated developer of DNA-based biometric human identification products for analysis of forensic genomic samples. Working closely with the forensic community, Verogen places exceptional value on flexible, scalable solutions that deliver reliable results. To learn more, visit www.verogen.com.
About Gene by Gene
Founded in 2000, Gene by Gene, Ltd. pioneered the direct-to-consumer genetic genealogy industry and now provides genetic testing services to a wide range of consumers and institutional customers through its four divisions focusing on ancestry, health, research, and paternity. Gene by Gene is a CAP/CLIA/NYSDOH accredited laboratory and, through its clinical health division, offers health, wellness, and regulated diagnostic testing services. The privately held company is headquartered in Houston, TX. To learn more, visit www.genebygene.com.
FAQs about the Verogen – Gene by Gene partnership
Have Verogen and Gene by Gene merged?
No. This is a collaborative multi-year alliance to standardize current FIGG workflows by providing enhanced laboratory and bioinformatics services through Gene by Gene, and the ability to upload ForenSeq Kintelligence profiles to the FamilyTreeDNA database. Verogen and Gene by Gene will continue their activities as independent companies but with a joint vision to expand the ethical and responsible use of FIGG.
What new services will be available through Gene by Gene?
- Validated ForenSeq Kintelligence service
- White-glove whole genome sequencing services (WGS)
- Microarray services for casework and target testing
- Improved bioinformatic imputation methods for WGS, developed by both organizations, to guarantee successful upload to both databases
Does this mean ForenSeq Kintelligence can be uploaded to the Gene by Gene database?
Yes— customers will be able to upload the profile generated by the Universal Analysis Software – Kintelligence Analysis Module to the Gene by Gene database in addition to GEDmatch PRO. This capability will be available in Q4, 2022.
I have a ForenSeq Kintelligence Profile on GEDmatch PRO. How might I upload it to the Gene by Gene database?
Customers must be approved before using the FTDNA database for law enforcement purposes according to FTDNA’s terms of service and standard process detailed here: https://www.familytreedna.com/legal/law-enforcement-guide. Customers can contact Gene by Gene at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling them at 832-422-0004.
How much does it cost to upload a ForenSeq Kintelligence profile to the FTDNA database?
Please reach out to your account manager or email@example.com for information on pricing.
Do I have to use Gene by Gene lab services to upload my FIGG profile to GEDMatch PRO?
No. Members of the forensic and law enforcement community can upload their FIGG profiles to GEDmatch PRO as long as they abide by the terms of service
What is the benefit of using Gene by Gene to generate a WGS profile for FIGG?
The unique benefit is profiles generated by Gene by Gene would have the maximum probability of a successful upload to both databases. As stewards of the database, Verogen and Gene by Gene are uniquely suited to determining the best imputation strategy to minimize the number of false matches and maximize the likelihood of generating uploadable profiles. Successful upload is not guaranteed for profiles generated by third parties.
How much does it cost to upload a FIGG profile generated by Gene by Gene?
Please reach out to your account manager or firstname.lastname@example.org for information on all inclusive pricing.
How might I request FIGG services through this partnership?
It’s easy. Fill out the FIGG questionnaire on the Verogen website (https://info.verogen.com/figg_questionnaire), to schedule a complimentary 30 minute consultation with an experienced law enforcement professional to determine the best option for your case sample.
I still have questions. Who can I contact?
Please reach out to email@example.com with any additional questions.