Mexico Pursues International Forensic CredibilityBy Sofía Garduño | Fri, 05/27/2022 - 08:22
The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior, will develop a laboratory for human identification at the National Institute of Genomic Medicine (INMEGEN). The laboratory aims to have scientific independence and international credibility, while solving the current crisis of human identification in Mexico.
“The Ministry of Health and the Undersecretariat of Human Rights, Population and Migration of the Ministry of the Interior will boost the application of scientific capabilities for the identification of complex samples by developing a world-class laboratory,” highlighted the Ministry of Health.
Researchers of this laboratory will be trained at the Institute of Legal Medicine of the Medical University of Innsbruck. Its laboratory is devoted both to human identification for legal proceedings and to the study of ancient human remains of anthropological interest. The institution will train specialists, while INMEGEN will provide technical accompaniment to adapt the processes and infrastructure at its facilities.
“The objective of this agreement is to develop human identification capabilities based on complex samples, taking advantage of the installed genetic analysis capacity and the highly qualified personnel of INMEGEN. We want to have our Mexican Innsbruck,” said Alejandro Encinas, Mexico Deputy Minister of Human Rights, Population and Migration.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, a forensic identification of human remains involves background research, the recovery of remains and laboratory analysis and reconciliation. Forensic laboratories have an important role in the development of criminology science and criminal case investigations.
This facility will have the human and material resources needed to analyze bones that are hard to identify. Samples analyzed at this laboratory will not have to be sent abroad for their identification.
Currently, there are around 52,000 unidentified bodies in the multiple forensic services of the country. In 2019, the FGR reported 37,000 people without identity and in 2020, INEGI reported that there were over 9,400 unidentified human remains. Most of these bodies are concentrated in 10 states of the country. Baja California is the state with the highest number of unidentified bodies followed by Mexico City and the State of Mexico. Meanwhile, Campeche and Tlaxcala have the lowest numbers.
To address this forensic crisis, the current administration is working toward strengthening the State’s capabilities regarding the process and comparison of genetic profiles, the gathering of digital fingerprints for identification purposes in different institutions and the integration of a National Genetic Information Bank.