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DNA, Molecular Genetics, and the Medical Examiner

New York City's new medical examiner is pushing for better DNA collection and analysis, the New York Times reports.

In its profile of Barbara Sampson, the Times writes that she is focused on getting the medical examiner's office back on track after several mishaps by concentrating on quality assurance. Sampson took over the office officially at the end of last year — she'd been the acting chief since 2013 — and says that the errors made didn't affect their findings at the office. "The science was never in question," she tells the Times.

The Times adds that in addition to analyzing crime scene evidence and crime victims, the medical examiner's office is also studying in its molecular genetics lab seemingly healthy people who died suddenly to better understand cardiac channelopathies and what might be behind such a fata heart condition.

"That is the next step for medical examiners' offices," James Gill, who worked with Sampson before leaving to run the Connecticut medical examiner's office, tells the Times. "New York City is on the cutting edge of molecular genetics."