Celera Genomics Group and Myriad Genetics Inc., two of the largest US genomics companies, are dedicating their DNA sequencing and typing expertise to the massive effort of identifying victims in last month's World Trade Center attack. The companies are creating DNA databases from victims, their personal effects, and from relatives. Myriad, a Salt Lake City, Utah, biopharmaceutical company, is using short tandem repeats (STR) to quantify the number of DNA repetitions on each of 13 nonfunctional genome loci, a process that yields statistically high matching probabilities. Myriad has used STR to help New York State build a genomic database of convicted felons. The company will be testing at least 30,000 DNA samples per month, says Myriad vice president Brian Ward, and more, if necessary. As time passes, obtaining victim samples before tissue decomposes is increasingly challenging. So Celera, the Rockville, Md.-based company known for its work in helping sequence...
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