By now everybody has heard that bin Laden is dead. R.I.H.
When I heard President Obama say last night that bin Laden's identity had been confirmed by DNA analysis (here's a post from Scientific American about how this might be done), I started mulling over what you might put in place to pull off this analysis quickly.
First, you need DNA. US forces had OBL's, and everyone is reporting they compared his DNA to his sisters. How? If I really wanted to be certain, I would sequence some of her DNA and then prepare PCR primers based on that information.
Second, you need to check the suspect sequence. There is certainly at least one of Idaho Technology's JBAIDS real-time PCR systems in theater. Could be on the ground in Afghanistan, could be on an aircraft carrier or assault ship. I doubt they flew one in and did the test in the air, but that is certainly possible. (Side note, if you click through to the JBAIDS site, the photo totally makes the instrument look smaller than it is. The box in real life is waaay bigger than a laptop. "Man-portable RT-PCR" they say. I say not by me.)
It probably took longer to fly the body out and get a sample to the PCR machine than it did to actually process the DNA and certify identity by RT-PCR.
So I have only one question: Who got the contract for high purity bin Laden-specific DNA primers?