This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The state’s top law enforcement agency has gained the ability to fully sequence mitochondrial DNA, an advancement that justice officials hope will better enable investigators to identify the bodies of missing persons.

“Anything we can do to help families find closure is critical,” California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said in a statement Monday. “We’re proud of the work our scientists and technicians do every day at our Bureau of Forensic Services to help protect Californians, including our work with local law enforcement to help families locate their missing loved ones.”

Nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DNA, the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Most DNA is located in the cell nucleus, where it is called nuclear DNA. But a small amount of DNA can also be found in the mitochondria, structures within cells that convert energy from food into a form that cells can use, according to the library. This is called mitochondrial DNA.

Read the full story on