A Central Pennsylvania news source reports on the story of how DNA helped to finally solve the mystery of a World War II soldier who died in a plane crash—and whose family has been wondering about his remains for over 65 years.

The remains, which have a long history of being dug up and reburied three times, transported from New Guinea to the Philippines, were finally identified when 3 things came to fruition: 1) bone fragments that remained at the crash site were discovered along with a metal identification tag in 1989; 2) DNA technology developed allowing identification using bone, circa 1999; and 3) a sister’s DNA sample was submitted and matched to remains’ profile in the Army DNA database in 2010.

Mitochondrial DNA testing (mtDNA) was likely used in this instance. Mitochondrial DNA, a type of DNA that is passed from a mother to all her children (maternally inherited), remains viable for testing in bone fragments over very long periods of time. Brothers and sisters from the same mother would have matching mitochondrial DNA.

DDC’s laboratory can help solve family mysteries such as these, using different types of Family Relationship DNA tests. For more information, call us at 1-800-613-5768.