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Molecular Genetics

The OCME Molecular Genetics Laboratory— the only such laboratory based in a medical examiner’s office nationwide— helps medical examiners investigate sudden unexpected natural deaths in apparently healthy individuals. The laboratory provides postmortem molecular diagnostic testing to search for gene changes that explain sudden deaths, and to alert surviving family members so that loved ones at high risk for inherited disease can be tested and treated.

Our Molecular Genetics Laboratory assists with approximately 500 investigations per year, and focuses on cardiac deaths in infants, children and young adults, sickle cell disease, and pulmonary thromboembolisms. The laboratory also provides genetic counseling, with an in-house certified genetic counselor who interprets test results for families and, when needed, refers surviving loved ones to clinical care partners in New York City.

The laboratory began as part of the Forensic Biology Department in 2003, and today stands as its own unit with approximately 10 professionals.

The Molecular Genetics Laboratory has been awarded nearly $2 million in grants from the National Institute of Justice since 2012, and its experts regularly publish articles in leading journals. The laboratory is also a member of Human Genetics in NYC, a group composed of some of the region's leading hospitals, universities, and scientific institutions dedicated to research, collaboration and public education around molecular genetics.