Saturday, 27 July 2013

Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics yet to receive DNA samples of Uttarakhand victims

The identification of Uttarakhand flood victims will take a long time as the DNA samples of the unidentified victims are yet to be sent to the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) in Hyderabad.

Following the Uttarakhand floods and the large number of deaths, the CDFC had written a letter to the National Disaster Management Authority (NMDA) expressing its interest in conducting DNA tests to facilitate identification of the deceased. Subsequently the Uttarakhand state government was said to have informed the CDFD that the biological samples collected would be sent to the centre in Hyderabad for the DNA tests.

Before the mass cremation of bodies, the local doctors there had collected biological samples from the bodies. An expert from the CDFD went to Uttarakhand and explained to the doctors how to collect and preserve the samples.

"We have not received the samples yet. Perhaps we will in due course. Our expert had advised the doctors on the way the samples had to be collected for conducting a DNA test. But the samples have not been sent to us so far," CDFD director J Gowrishankar told TOI.

The bodies of seven persons killed in the helicopter crash were identified based on a DNA test conducted by the CDFD as the samples were sent to the centre immediately on July 29 and DNA analysis was completed within two days. Those identified through the DNA tests included four ITBP and three NDRF personnel. The MI-17V5 helicopter had crashed at Gaurikund while on a rescue mission.

According to Gowrishankar, once the Uttarakhand government sends the DNA samples of the unidentified bodies, the reports of the tests will be kept ready for the next phase of tests that will be needed for identification.

"If the bodies for identification are limited and the number of claimants large, it will be necessary to conduct DNA analysis of all the claimants and match it with the victims' DNA. This will take a lot of time," the director said.

In an effort to make things easy for relatives so that they don't have to travel to Hyderabad for giving their DNA samples to be matched with that of the victims', the CDFD is thinking of making arrangements with government hospitals. The samples will be collected at these hospitals in the right manner and sent to the Hyderabad centre.

Saturday 27 July 2013


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