How DNA science assisted the identification process following September 11th, 2001



Over 2,700 people were killed on September 11, 2001. 

Adding even more sorrow to the tragic events in New York City that day was the fact it took months – and in some cases years – for families to receive final closure. 

Due to the damage caused at Ground Zero from  water, mold, bacteria, fire and jet fuel, the challenge of identifying the remains was very difficult, according to Mark Desire of the Office of the City Medical Examiner in New York City. 

“Fire, water, sunlight and mold and bacteria and jet fuel — all of these things destroy DNA, and I just mentioned everything that was present at Ground Zero, so this was extremely challenging,” he told The New York Post in an interview. 

The Post article details the incredible science that went with the process of identifying the remains, including a way to draw blood from bone. 

You can read more here:

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Episode 7: Chicago news anchor’s journey to Africa for answers

downloadFor many, online records and databases can serve as our primary source of research into our families following a DNA tests.

Many others, unfortunately, do not have that option. WGN anchor Cortney Hall spoke to us about her journey to Senegal after a DNA test revealed she was of Senegalese Mandinka ancestry.

She shares her story with us, then we chat about the unique difficulty African-Americans can face when researching their own history.

Episode 4: Opening up the “Pandora’s Box”

205362_317911191636887_2008363276_nA Chicago area biologist discovers he’s related to a world famous pop band from India! We were joined in this episode by Robert Sliwinski of DNA Explorers to talk more about this.

DNA testing can be simple….but it can also lead to complicated results.

“Here’s the thing, it is a Pandora’s Box, you may learn something you don’t want to know.”

Have you opened your box?

Let us know if you made any discoveries (good or bad) after DNA testing!