DNA Analysis for Missing Person Identification in Mass Fatalities: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

DNA Analysis for Missing Person Identification in Mass Fatalities

1st Edition

By Amanda C Sozer

CRC Press

312 pages | 87 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781466513846
pub: 2014-01-28
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429253614
pub: 2014-01-28
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Advances in DNA technology have expanded such 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, the 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 using 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.

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



About the Author

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.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Forensic Science
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Physical