Alonso, et al. – high number of victims, body destruction, DNA degradation, often limited reference samples available
Decreased number of PCR markers available
Remains from fire accidents can by extremely charred and indistinguishable
Lack of technical resources
Low success rate with STR loci
Current Challenges Alonso A, Martin P, Albarran C, Garcia P, Fernandez de Simon L, Iturralde MJ, et al. Challenges of DNA profiling in mass disaster investigations. Croat. Med. J 46(4) (2005) 540-548.
Alonso, et al. -- recommended a procedure for reducing errors during data collection is the use of specific and standardized sample collection forms employing a unique numbering systems to identify each remain in conjunction with the use of
Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) = ensure sample information logging on a centralized database
Budowle, et al. – Software used in the investigation must:
organize, store, and retrieve diverse and different data
integrate different software systems
allow technical and administrative review of data
allow for annotation and recording of problems and resolutions
track samples among partner laboratories
prioritize sample selection and review
In addition, the software should also be able to:
generate family pedigrees and calculate likelihood ratios for hypothesized kinships
combine remains with the same profile to facilitate searching
enable profile comparisons and statistical calculations
be user friendly
Mass-Fatality Identification System
Developed in response to WTC tragedy by Gene Codes Corporation
Able to make sense of huge quantities of data and to assist in the task of victim identification
Mass disasters usually have a high number of pairwise comparisons, ranging from 1,000s to millions
Software developed to:
Collapse profiles from remains
Build overlapping partial profiles
Calculate likelihood ratios (LR) for each pairwise comparison at various relationships
Kinship Analysis Alonso A, Martin P, Albarran C, Garcia P, Fernandez de Simon L, Iturralde MJ, et al. Challenges of DNA profiling in mass disaster investigations. Croat. Med. J 46(4) (2005) 540-548.
Future Mass Disaster Investigations
As mass fatalities are unexpected and unpredictable, it is important to properly plan and learn from past experiences
Requires guidelines, training, preparation, and proper execution in order to be conducted efficiently
Alonso, et al. -- reduce errors during data collection by using specific, standardized sample collection forms with unique numbering systems to identify each remain
Multiplex PCR amplification preferred
Automation, robotic systems are helping to decrease costs and turnaround time
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