The emerging role of genetics professionals in forensic kinship DNA identification after a mass fatality: lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina volunteers

Genet Med. 2009 Jun;11(6):414-7. doi: 10.1097/GIM.0b013e3181a16ccc.


Purpose: To explore the experience of medical genetics professionals who volunteered in the DNA identification efforts after Hurricane Katrina to identify "lessons learned" and plan for future recovery efforts.

Methods: A web-based survey was administered to volunteers in the Fall of 2007.

Results: Sixty-six individuals (75%) completed the survey. Eighty-six percent volunteered because they felt their skills as genetics professional were needed and 46% desired additional training on the molecular aspects of kinship analysis. Most (97%) reported that they would like to see the genetics community become actively involved in further developing the role of genetics professionals in mass fatality response. All respondents (100%) would volunteer again.

Conclusion: Developing a registry of volunteers and educational materials tailored to the needs of genetics professionals should be explored as a mechanism to prepare the genetics community to play an active role in future mass fatality response.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cyclonic Storms*
  • DNA / genetics
  • Disasters / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Forensic Genetics / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Relief Work / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Volunteers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult


  • DNA