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Bin Laden DNA is a 99.9% match of family's DNA

May 4, 2011 |  2:52 pm

 Saudi men watch a TV broadcasting a report about Osama bin Laden in Riyadh 

Bin Laden DNA gathered from the family of Osama Bin Laden matches that of the fallen terrorist, U.S. officials guarantee with high probabilty.

"Now, we can say with 99.9% confidence that this was Bin Laden," John Brennan, deputy national security advisor for homeland security and counter-terrorism, told reporters Monday at the White House referring to DNA evidence that matched that of Bin Laden's family.

But how could the U.S. know so quickly? Doesn't DNA testing take a little longer than half of a day?

"It's true that DNA analysis that once required days or weeks can now be performed in less than 24 hours, particularly in high-profile cases such as this one," Sharon Weinberger of Popular Science wrote Wednesday. "The process of extracting and purifying the DNA can be done in as little as a half-hour; then experts require a few hours to amplify, analyze and match it."

In February 2002 the U.S. government acknowledged that they did not have a DNA sample of a Bin Laden relative, but since then at least one sample was reportedly garnered from a half-sister who died in Boston of brain cancer.

A sample from a full brother or sister would have been preferable, but Osama bin Laden is the only child born from the union of his mother and father. However, the Al Qaeda leader had more than 50 half-siblings.


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-- Tony Pierce

Photo: Saudi men watch a TV broadcasting a report about Osama bin Laden in Riyadh. Credit: Hassan Ammar/AP