Whenever there is large-scale disaster or calamity, identifying the remains of victims as quickly as possible is vitally important.

DNA technology, which attempts to match DNA recovered from victims with DNA records or family members, has clearly made the process much easier. But when large numbers of casualties are involved (over 100), normal application of this technology becomes unwieldy.

That is why the Netherlands Forensic Institute, together with Radboud University Nijmegen (the Netherlands), has developed Bonaparte, an advanced software tool for DNA matching.

It can effectively deal with large numbers of victims, and can also be used to identify human remains for Missing Persons programmes.

Specifically, Bonaparte can handle autosomal, Y chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA profiles. It uses state-of-the-art mathematical probabilistic methods to determine quickly and accurately not only direct matches but also the more difficult ‘pedigree’ matches against partial and full family trees. Combining an advanced search strategy with a modern, efficient work flow, it computes exact likelihood ratios for autosomal DNA results and can generate customised match reports on demand.

Plane crashes

Bonaparte was successfully applied in the case of the Afriqiyah Airways crash in Tripoli on 12 May 2010, in which 103 people died. The use of Bonaparte reduced the time required to fully identify all victims from over 3 months to just 3 weeks, demonstrating how this software can significantly simplify and speed up the large-scale victim identification process.

Bonaparte also played an important role in the identification of the victims of the MH17 plane crash in Ukraine on 17 july 2014 in which 298 people died.

For more information about Bonaparte and its features, please contact our Account Management Team.