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DNA Testing Begins on Unidentified Katrina Bodies

by Kevin Caruso

December 6, 2005

The Louisiana coroner’s office has announced that DNA testing will commence immediately on 263 unidentified Katrina victims.

Scientists use tests to match DNA from the bodies with DNA taken from relatives or from the personal effects of victims. Hundreds of people with missing relatives have provided mouth swabs or other DNA materials to be used in the tests.

"By the end of this year, we should have made significant progress" toward identifying many of the victims, said Bob Johannessen, spokesman for the state coroner.

Hurricane Katrina caused more than 1,200 deaths across the Gulf Coast – more than 1,000 of them in Louisiana.


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