The Latest: Identifying Dead: DNA, And Older Methods Too

PARADISE, Calif. (AP) – Authorities doing the somber work of identifying the victims of California’s deadliest wildfire are drawing on leading-edge DNA technology. But experts say older scientific techniques and deduction could also come into play. With the death toll from the Northern California blaze topping 40 and expected to rise, officials said they were setting up a rapid DNA-analysis system, among other steps. Rapid DNA is a term for portable devices that can identify someone’s genetic material in a couple of hours, rather than days or weeks. But more traditional methods, such as examining dental records, are often a first step. Partially, that’s because victims might have had dental X-rays but not personal DNA profiles. Other medical records – of bone fractures, prosthetics or implants, for instance – also can be helpful.


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