DNA Identification of “Earthquake McGoon” 50 Years Postmortem

Authors

  • Jodi A. Irwin M.S.,

    1. Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, AFIP Annex, 1413 Research Blvd., Rockville, MD 20850.
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  • Suni M. Edson M.S.,

    1. Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, AFIP Annex, 1413 Research Blvd., Rockville, MD 20850.
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  • Odile Loreille Ph.D.,

    1. Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, AFIP Annex, 1413 Research Blvd., Rockville, MD 20850.
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  • Rebecca S. Just M.F.S,

    1. Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, AFIP Annex, 1413 Research Blvd., Rockville, MD 20850.
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  • Suzanne M. Barritt M.S.,

    1. Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, AFIP Annex, 1413 Research Blvd., Rockville, MD 20850.
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  • Demris A. Lee M.S.F.S.,

    1. Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, AFIP Annex, 1413 Research Blvd., Rockville, MD 20850.
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  • Thomas D. Holland Ph.D.,

    1. Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command––Central Identification Laboratory, 310 Worchester Ave. Bldg. 45, Hickam AFB, HI 96853.
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  • Thomas J. Parsons Ph.D.,

    1. Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, AFIP Annex, 1413 Research Blvd., Rockville, MD 20850.
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    • Present address: International Commission on Missing Persons, Alipašina 45 A, 71000, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

  • Mark D. Leney Ph.D.

    1. Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command––Central Identification Laboratory, 310 Worchester Ave. Bldg. 45, Hickam AFB, HI 96853.
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    • Present address: Massachusetts Biologic Laboratories, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Jamaica Plain, MA 02310.

    • §

      Present address: Scientific Advisor, The National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia,1005 Glebe Road, Suite 170 Arlington, VA 22201.


Additional information and reprint requests:
Jodi A. Irwin, M.S.
Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory
1413 Research Blvd.
Building 101
Rockville, MD 20850
E-mail: jodi.a.irwin@us.army.mil

Abstract

Abstract:  This report describes the genetic identification of James “Earthquake McGoon” McGovern, a WWII fighter ace who perished in Laos while providing supplies to French troops during the French Indochina war. Because reference samples were unavailable for all of the potential casualties, testing of the entire mitochondrial genome, autosomal STRs and Y-chromosomal STRs was performed to increase the genetic information available for analysis. Kinship analyses performed on the evidentiary data and numerous indirect family references for McGovern excluded other possible casualties and definitively established McGovern’s identity. This particular case demonstrates the practical utility of novel research technologies and aggressive genetic typing protocols in the identification of aged, degraded remains.

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