News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

Archive for November 27th, 2018

Rapid DNA Technology Used To ID California Wildfire Victims

image of DNA appearing to be on fireThe California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has reported that the Camp Fire in Butte County burned 153,336 acres, destroyed 13,972 residences and 4,821 other buildings, and killed at least 85 people.  [See the Camp Fire Incident Information page and Butte County Sheriff’s Office Camp Fire page.]  At least 200 people are still missing.  The Butte County Sheriff’s Office is working with ANDE’s Rapid DNA instruments to help identify victims and human remains.  Immediate relatives of missing persons are being asked to donate their DNA by submitting cheek swabs at a local police station.  [DNA samples must be accompanied by consent forms; the DNA samples and data will be destroyed after a family member is identified.]  A Rapid DNA instrument can generate a DNA ID in a few hours.  A DNA ID contains approximately one-millionth of the information in a genetic profile, but it can determine gender, and two or more DNA IDs can be compared to determine if people are close biological relatives.  The Rapid DNA Act of 2017 [see Pub. L. No. 115-50 (August 18, 2017)] required the Federal Bureau of Investigation to issue standards and procedures for using Rapid DNA instruments, as well as allowed DNA samples prepared by using Rapid DNA instruments to be included in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).