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Genetic Database to Identify Missing Persons in El Salvador

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A man is reunited with his mother after 35 years.

Until now, no such genetic database existed for the populations of Central American countries.

Credit: Pro-Búsqueda

Researchers at Spain's Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona and the Institute of Evolutionary Biology have developed a genetic database that aims to identify people who went missing or were put up for adoption illegally during the 1980-1992 war in El Salvador.

The database contains the genetic information of 400 Salvadorans, which also could help identify the remains of missing persons along the migrant route into the U.S.

Said researcher Ferran Casals, "We have developed pioneering applications of the most advanced nucleic acid sequencing technologies in forensic genetics."

Researcher Francesc Calafell added, "Thanks to the good resolution of the genomic markers sequenced, and thanks to the large number of sequences of individuals accumulated, the database has allowed us to go a little further and not just identify parents and children, but also more distant relations."

From Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona (Spain)
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