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Lessons Learned From 9/11: DNA Identification in Mass Fatality Incidents

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2006
0 pages
This CD-ROM offers advice on how to manage a DNA identification project for mass fatality incidents.
Prepared by the Kinship and Data Analysis Panel, a group of forensic experts brought together following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, this report provides lessons learned on a wide range of issues pertinent to DNA identification following mass fatality events. Main topics include: (1) how to establish laboratory polices and procedures for the mass fatality identification efforts, including how to create sample collection documents; (2) how to assess the magnitude of an identification effort and then identify and acquire the resources necessary for large identification efforts; (3) how to identify reference and kin samples; (4) how to create a comprehensive laboratory management plan that includes technological management and quality assurance; and (5) how to establish communications between agencies, departments, victims’ families, and the press. The DNA protocol presented here stresses intentional testing redundancy as a way of monitoring the system’s effectiveness. Information is presented about the resources a DNA laboratory should have on hand prior to a mass fatality incident and considers the major decisions that need to be made directly following a mass fatality incident. Questions include consideration of how important DNA is to the identification effort and the minimum fragment size that will be identified. Other topics include procurement and vendor management, quality control, sample analysis, and family coordination. This CD-ROM presentation is part of the President’s DNA Initiative and was written primarily for forensic laboratory directors and other officials responsible for organizing and managing DNA identification response teams. The CD-ROM also includes two related publications - “Mass Fatality Incidents: A Guide for Human Forensic Identification” and “Identifying Victims Using DNA: A Guide for Families” – and three sample forms. The CD-ROM presentation is offered in three formats: a PDF version, an HTML version, and a searchable Flash-based version.

Date Published: September 1, 2006