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DNA Analysis Book

dna-analysis-bookAdvances in DNA technology have expanded so far that forensic DNA profiling is now considered a routine method for identifying victims of mass fatalities. Originating from an initiative funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State, DNA Analysis for Missing Person Identification in Mass Fatalities presents a collection of training modules that supply comprehensive instruction in these complex techniques.

The book begins with a concise overview of DNA analysis methods and their use in identifying victims of mass fatalities. It then goes on to explore:

  • Mass fatality response operations, including body recovery, mortuary operations, family assistance, identification of human remains, and psychosocial support for families
  • Best practices in DNA sample collection and the different types of reference samples that can be used to identify a reported missing (RM) individual
  • Autosomal short tandem repeat (STR) DNA profile analysis and interpretation, and procedures to ensure data accuracy
  • Major steps involved in generating a DNA profile and the complex aspects of data analysis and interpretation
  • The importance of data management with information technology tools and tips for maintaining quality operations
  • Accreditation and standards and the major elements of a DNA quality program
  • Setting up a laboratory operation, including planning, staffing, identifying types of equipment and supplies, and the procedures for ensuring that laboratory equipment performs appropriately

The book includes a discussion of the key steps in the preparation, delivery, and evaluation of training sessions for personnel responding to a mass fatality human identification event. It also provides a comprehensive vocabulary list with terms related to mass fatality DNA identification. This text is a must-read for organizations contemplating the use of DNA in human identification initiatives following mass fatalities. It is also a tremendous value to emergency manager/planners, medical legal authorities, and forensic DNA laboratories.

To order, please click here: DNA Analysis for Missing Person Identification in Mass Fatalities

Author Bio

Amanda Sozer, Ph.D., president of SNA International, received her B.A. from Rutgers University and her Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee–Oak Ridge Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Dr. Sozer has worked in forensics for over 20 years, directing forensic laboratories and programs. In addition to directing forensic DNA laboratories, she served as a technical contractor to the U.S. National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and worked on the DNA backlog reduction programs for no-suspect forensic cases and convicted offender outsourcing programs, which resulted in the processing of millions of samples. She has worked on numerous local, state, and federal forensic projects within the United States and forensic projects and human identification initiatives in Guatemala, Cyprus, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Lebanon, the Philippines, and Libya.

DNA Analysis for Missing Person Identification in Mass Fatalities Table of Contents

Human Identification through DNA Analysis

Types of DNA Analysis
A History of DNA Profiling
Using DNA for Identification of Human Remains
The DNA Analysis Process
Explaining the DNA Process to Non-Technical Personnel

Mass Fatalities

Definition of a Mass Fatality
Jurisdictional Issues
Causes of Mass Fatality Incidents
Mass Fatality Response Overview
Managing the Mass Fatalities Response Operations
Factors Impacting a Mass Fatalities Response
Finances and Politics
Availability of Ante-Mortem Records and DNA Reference Samples

Post-Mortem Functions—Body Recovery and Morgue Operations

Field Operations (Body Recovery)
Morgue Operations

Ante-Mortem Functions—Family Assistance Operations

Function of Family Assistance Operations
Creating a Reported Missing (RM) Case
Ante-Mortem Information
Information Technology Support
Providing Information to the Public
Financial Assistance
Notification and Release
Grief Support
Family Assistance Centers (FACs)
Family Assistance Operations Relationship with the Morgue

Identification of Remains

Types of Identification
Identification of Bodies
Presentation and Review of Proposed Identification
Acceptance/Authorization of Identification
Family Notification of Identification
Release of Remains and Personal Property

Identification and Collection of Biological Samples from Human Remains

Special Considerations for Sample Collections
Determining the Best Sample to Collect
Collecting Multiple Samples
Establishing DNA Sample Protocol

Identification and Collection of DNA Reference Samples

The Reported Missing
Chain of Custody
Reference Sample Types
Scheduling Collections
Collecting Kinship Samples

Application of DNA Technology for Human Identification

DNA Profiling Process Overview
DNA Extract Assessment
Amplification Strategies and Considerations
DNA Separation and DNA Profile Generation
Emerging DNA Technologies for Possible Forensic Application
Options for Testing

DNA Profile Analysis and Interpretation

Parameters for Acceptable DNA STR Profiles
Data Review
Documentation of Data Review
Case Evaluation, Kinship Screening, and Kinship Calculations
Kinship Analysis
Reporting Matches

DNA Sample, Case, and Data Tracking Using Information Technology Tools 

Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)
Assigning a Reported Missing (RM) Case
Collection of Samples from Unidentified Human Remains
Collection Reference Samples
Tracking the Sample during Testing and Data Analysis
DNA Profile Interpretation and Management
Report Writing
Communication Logs
Quality Control
Work Lists
Maintaining Fiscal Responsibility
Acquiring the LIMS

Implementing and Maintaining a Quality DNA Program

Accreditation and Its Role in International Recognition
Laboratory Development
Laboratory Operations Strategy
Laboratory Functions
Sample Types and Number Estimates
Laboratory Design and Layout
Staffing and Training
Quality Assurance and Quality Control
Equipment and Supplies

Delivering Effective Training

Defining Stakeholder Learning Needs
Key Factors for Successful Training
Getting Ready for Training