Orchid Cellmark Successful in DNA Analysis of Fromelles War Grave Samples

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Cellmark Forensic Services (Orchid Cellmark) has helped the British and Australian Governments and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to identify soldiers who died at the Battle of Fromelles in northern France in the First World War.

Cellmark Forensic Services (Orchid Cellmark) has helped the British and Australian Governments and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to identify soldiers who died at the Battle of Fromelles in northern France in the First World War.

Archaeologists working for the Fromelles project commenced work in 2009 and recovered the remains of 250 soldiers. Identification of the soldiers has been carried out by the Fromelles project team using a variety of approaches including anthropological data, historical records of perimortem (before death) injuries, artefacts found with the remains as well as by comparing DNA results obtained from the remains with those of living relatives.

Despite the age of the bones and teeth, DNA information from the Y chromosome (for paternal inheritance) as well as from mitochondrial DNA (for maternal inheritance) has been obtained from all of the bodies, with Orchid Cellmark successfully producing YSTR profiles for what had proved to be some of the more challenging and difficult samples.

David Hartshorne, Orchid Cellmark's United Kingdom Commercial Director said, "We are extremely proud to have been invited to work on this important project and delighted that our DNA expertise has helped to conclude some of the body identifications. We have considerable experience of obtaining DNA results from degraded and challenging biological samples and our team was pleased to be able to assist".

Over the last two decades Orchid Cellmark has established its position as one of the leading providers of forensic services in the U.K. Based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire and Chorley, Lancashire, the company provides a comprehensive forensic service ranging from the testing of mouth swab samples for submission to the U.K. National DNA Database, to the collection and forensic analysis of range of evidence types for the investigation of the most serious crimes. In addition to its criminal work, Orchid Cellmark is experienced in body identification following natural disasters, military incidents and terrorist atrocities which includes identification of victims following the Tsunami of 2004, the London bombings in 2005, the RAF Nimrod crash in 2006 and over 60 other incidents over the last 18 months alone.

About Orchid Cellmark
Cellmark Forensic Services is a registered name of Orchid Cellmark Ltd, part of Orchid Cellmark Inc. (Nasdaq: ORCH), a leading international provider of DNA testing services for forensic, human identity testing and agricultural applications. Orchid Cellmark is one of the largest providers of forensic DNA testing services and its DNA results are used by the criminal justice system to assist with the identification of perpetrators, the exclusion of suspects and the exoneration of wrongfully convicted individuals. In the human identity area, the company provides DNA testing services for paternity and immigration, family relationship analysis, and security applications. In the agriculture field, Orchid Cellmark provides DNA testing services for selective trait breeding. Orchid Cellmark's strong market positions in these segments reflect the company's accredited laboratories in the U.S. and U.K., its innovative genetic analysis technologies and expertise, and the world-renowned Cellmark brand that has been associated with exceptional quality, reliability and customer service for more than two decades. More information on Orchid Cellmark Ltd can be found at http://www.orchidcellmark.co.uk.

About the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Established by Royal Charter in 1917, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission pays tribute to the 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars. It is a non-profit-making organisation that was founded by Sir Fabian Ware.
Since its inception, the Commission has constructed 2,500 war cemeteries and plots, erecting headstones over graves and, in instances where the remains are missing, inscribing the names of the dead on permanent memorials. Over one million casualties are now commemorated at military and civil sites in some 150 countries.

More information on the Commission can be found at http://www.cwgc.org

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Paul West
Cellmark
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