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DNA of victims from Thailand tested
By Qin Yan (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-02-03 01:53

Another batch of samples taken from people who died in Thailand during the December 26 Asian tsunami has arrived in Beijing for DNA testing.

Chinese experts at the Beijing Genomics Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences will waste no time in starting testing the 462 samples, said Yang Xu of the institute's DNA sequencing office yesterday.

The samples reached Beijing on Sunday, Yang said, whose institute is responsible for doing the job of DNA testing.

In the meantime, Yang said experts have finished the first round of testing of 100 samples, which were the first batch sent from Thailand in mid-January.

She told China Daily yesterday that experts still need to test some of the samples again.

DNA in some samples was dama-ged seriously because the samples were soaked by sea water, she said.

"We will use various methods to do the job," she said.

Yang said it was still up in the air where the database collecting the testing results would be set up.

Such a database is designed to allow people to identify the dead, Yang told China Daily in early January.

If people think their relatives might have died in the disaster in Thailand, they can compare their own DNA samples with those saved by the database, because relatives' DNAs have certain links with each other.

Details about the establishment of the database will be decided by the Thai and Chinese governments, Yang said.

She said she was also not sure whether there would be more samples sent to Beijing from Thailand.

Yang's institute acted quickly after the earthquake-generated tsunami occurred. It sent five DNA experts to help with disaster relief work in Thailand in late December.

(China Daily 02/03/2005 page2)

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