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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 May, 2005, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
Bosnia lab to examine tsunami DNA
Thais collect samples for DNA testing
Many corpses were unrecognisable by the time they were found
Hundreds of unidentified DNA samples from victims of the Asian tsunami have been sent for testing at a hi-tech laboratory in Bosnia.

Thai officials trying to name up to 2,000 victims of the disaster sent 750 samples to the International Commission on Missing Persons, based in Sarajevo.

The ICMP has identified more than 7,500 people through DNA matches, mostly victims of Bosnia's civil war.

Nearly 5,400 died in Thailand in the tsunami, but many remain unidentified.

A spokesman for the ICMP told the AFP news agency that Thai authorities want DNA profiles extracted from the samples sent to Bosnia.

International effort

Matching a victims' DNA profile with one extracted from a living relative is the only definitive method of identifying completely decomposed bodies.

A relative of a tsunami victim giving a sample
Relatives have been asked to give tissue samples for testing
Up to half of those who died when the tsunami hit Thai coastal regions on 26 December remain unidentified.

Thai authorities previously sent samples to British and Chinese forensic laboratories to help with identification.

International forensic teams in Thailand have gathered dental records and DNA samples from relatives of those feared dead in the tsunami in an effort to aid identification.

The ICMP was established in 1996 to try to identify and trace up to 40,000 people reported missing during wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia.

It has since used DNA tissue and blood matching to identify victims of the 1999 conflict in Kosovo and a 2001 uprising in Macedonia.

ICMP experts also helped the US name victims of the 11 September terror attacks and have assisted Iraqi authorities since 2003.


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