Forensic DNA Profiling

A Valuable Tool for Human Identification

Amanda C. Sozer
President, SNA International

2254th Meeting Abstract
Friday, April 17, 2009 at 8:15 PM

Amanda C. Sozer


Over the past two decades there has been a tremendous growth in the use of DNA profiling for human identification purposes. While it is a relatively new technology, DNA profiling is a proven tool with a higher degree of reliability and relevance than other forensic techniques. DNA profiling solves crimes, protects the innocent, identifies the missing and is often a major component in criminal trials, paternity suits and humanitarian victim identification efforts. This lecture will review the science behind the technology, discuss the strengths and limitations of DNA profiling and review examples of recent DNA identification efforts.

About the Author:

Amanda C. Sozer is the President of SNA International, a private consulting company located in Alexandria, Virginia. SNA International provides expertise, education, technology solutions and management for forensic laboratory and mass fatality identification projects.

She began her career in DNA identification in 1990 at Cellmark Diagnostics and then accepted a position at Fairfax Identity Laboratories in 1992 where, as the Associate Director, she managed all aspects of the laboratory operations for paternity, convicted offender testing, and forensic casework. She served as a Technical Contractor to the National Institute of Justice and worked on the DNA backlog reduction programs for no-suspect forensic cases and the convicted offender outsourcing programs. In addition, she participated in the National Institute of Justice Kinship and Data Analysis Panel for the World Trade Center Victim Identification Program and co authored under the President’s DNA Initiative, Lessons Learned from 9/11: DNA Identification in Mass Fatality Incidents.

After Hurricane Katrina she was called to Louisiana and where she managed the victim DNA identification efforts. shealso facilitated the Hurricane Victim Identification Expert Group, which provided expert advice and recommendations to the Louisiana State Police and the Incident Medical Commander. She has been involved in the expansion of forensic DNA programs in Louisiana, Mississippi, Massachusetts and California and recently in the implementation of new forensic laboratory facilities in St. Tammany Parish, Guatemala and the Kingdom of Jordan. She is also currently working with a group of organizations on a 3-year State Department project to strengthen Iraq’s forensic DNA analysis capabilities by building university academic capacity. She also serves as the forensic DNA consultant to the Physicians for Human Rights International Forensics Program.

She is a member of the American Association of Blood Banks, the American College of Forensic Examiners, the American Society for Quality, the American Society of Forensic Sciences, the American Society of Human Genetics, the Human Identity Trade Association, the International Society for Forensic Genetics, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, the Philosophical Society of Washington, and the Washington Academy of Sciences. She is a qualified Laboratory Director by the New York State Department of Health and the former Regional Chair of the Parentage Testing Accreditation Unit of the American Association of Blood Banks, which is the organization that accredits relationship-testing laboratories worldwide. She is also the Vice President of the Human Identity Trade Association.

She received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and her Ph.D. in 1989 from the University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory with a specialization in genetics and an emphasis in biotechnology.

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