Policy ForumEpidemiology

DNA Identifications After the 9/11 World Trade Center Attack

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Science  18 Nov 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5751, pp. 1122-1123
DOI: 10.1126/science.1116608

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The attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001 challenged current approaches to forensic DNA typing methods. The large number of victims and the extreme thermal and physical conditions of the site necessitated special approaches to the DNA-based identification. Because of these and many additional challenges, new procedures were created or modified from routine forensic protocols. This effort facilitated the identification of 1594 of the 2749 victims. In this Policy Forum, the authors, who were were members of the World Trade Center Kinship and Data Analysis Panel, review the lessons of the attack response from the perspective of DNA forensic identification and suggest policies and procedures for future mass disasters or large-scale terrorist attacks.

  • * Authors were members of the World Trade Center Kinship and Data Analysis Panel. Affilations are provided in Supporting Online Material. The opinions expressed here are those of the authors.