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    New DNA Technology Helps Identify New 9/11 Victim 16 Years After Attack

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    After 16 years, forensic experts have identified a new victim of the September 11 attacks by using novel DNA technology, according to the New York City medical examiner’s office.

    This is the 1,641st victim that the office has identified since the series of terror attacks that killed 2,753 people in 2001. 

    Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner's office, said that the identity of the victim, a man, was confirmed by retesting his remains with new and sensitive DNA technology, after previous tests were unsuccessful. His name is being withheld at his family's request, NBC New York reported on Monday.

    The most recent previous identification of remains from the terror attacks was in March 2015, when DNA testing was used to identify 26-year-old Matthew David Yarnell, a Carnegie Mellon University graduate who was vice president and programmer analyst of Fiduciary Trust Company International.

    "Since the immediate days following the World Trade Center disaster in 2001, the Office of Chief Medical Examiner has worked to identify the victims, and we will continue to uphold this commitment using the most advanced scientific methods available," Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said. Sampson said that improved DNA analysis technology will help the medical office identify the 1,112 people — 40 percent of the attack's victims — who have yet to be identified. DNA technology has been the most prevalent tool for identifying remains, according to the medical examiner. Fingerprints and dental records have been less effective. 

    The medical examiner's office is currently using a process to disintegrate fragments of human remains — usually bones — in an effort to better extract the DNA, which is then cross-checked against the office's database of genetic material from victims and their family members.

    As DNA-related technology continues to evolve, forensic experts expect that more identifications will be successful in the coming years, hopefully providing closure to families' prolonged pain and suffering.

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    Tags:
    DNA testing, terror, World Trade Center, victims of terror, 9/11, United States
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