ELKINS, W.Va. – A company co-founded by an Elkins native, Dr. Steve Armentrout and Marshall University professor, Dr. Michael Norton will be featured in a new television series.
Dr. Armentrout met Dr. Norton in 2005, where they began collaborating about using DNA to overcome obstacles with nanotechnology, further leading them to create Parabon NanoLabs in 2008.
In recent years, the company has applied infrastructure it developed for drug development to problems in the field for forensic DNA analysis and determining genetic predisposition to specific diseases. The company is comprised of two centralized focuses.
“One half of the company builds things with DNA, and that’s the nano-tech side of the company. The other half analyzes DNA,” Dr. Armentrout explained.
One of the analyzation is forensic analysis, which has what resulted in the ABC television show.
In 2011, Parabon was able to receive a Department of Defense contract to analyze DNA in a new way, one that is different from traditional DNA analyzation.
“What the DOD was interested in was what about the situations where you don’t have a match what else can the DNA tell us,” Armentrout described. “It can’t tell us things like eye color, hair color, skin color, ancestry and so on.”
In 2015 Parabon introduced its technology to the law enforcement world. Most recently the DNA technology has led to genetic genealogy. The company uses this to generate scientific leads for detectives to close cold cases. Since the time it introduced that service, the company has been helping solve, on average, one cold case a week.
This show will feature Parabon NanoLabs Chief Genetic Genealogist, Cece Moore.
“Her unique role in this process with Parabon for going from an unknown DNA sample at a crime scene through to ‘here are the genetic genealogy matches,’ the family tree building that I did that led me to the following hypothesis,” said Armentrout. “We think it is this person or we think it’s someone in this family.”
The series premieres Tuesday, May 26 at 10 p.m. eastern time on ABC. More information about the show is available by going to its page on the ABC website.