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NYC medical examiner to use high-tech DNA system to ID mass casualty victims

The New York City medical examiner is on the verge of using a new speedy DNA technology in mass casualty situations, a system that can identify victims in about two hours, instead of weeks and months under current procedures, officials have said. Known as “Rapid DNA,” the portable device made by ANDE, a Colorado-based technology company. It was used in 2018 to identify victims of the Paradise fire in California and in 2017 after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, officials said.

The system analyzes DNA from saliva of relatives of the deceased and develops genetic profiles in about 120 minutes, officials said. Those profiles are then compared with those of the victims. The city got a preliminary nod to use Rapid DNA after the Office of Chief Medical Examiner earlier this month gave a convincing demonstration of the device, known as the ANDE 6C, to state officials. The 117-pound machine, which can fit in the back of an SUV, performed in tests with a high degree of accuracy comparable to traditional testing methods.


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