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Identifying tsunami victims

Interpol calls for standardized DNA testing for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami

Katherine Schlatter(kmschlatter@asiabioscience.com)

Interpol this week called for foreign forensic teams working to identify victims of the Asian tsunami to adhere to the same standard of forensic methods. The appeal was made after a meeting of senior police officials from 26 countries in Lyon, France, on Wednesday (January 5).

The international police organization said that DNA profiles, fingerprints, and other data like tattoos and birthmarks could be processed on a standardized data sheet and entered into a centralized storage point.

One professor of forensic pathology at Hong Kong University, Philip Beh, said the recommendation was wise, as teams in Thailand alone make up the largest disaster victim identification event in recent history.

Beh has been communicating with fellow forensic experts in Thai southern resort towns, where an estimated 2000 foreign tourists are said to have perished in the tsunami waves that struck on December 26.

Beh said it is still unclear how long...

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