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DNA to reunite Holocaust families

TUCSON, June 7 (UPI) — DNA procedures may soon be used to help reunite Jewish families shattered by the Holocaust.

The DNA Shoah project was founded by Syd Mandelbaum, a son of survivors of the Holocaust — or Shoah as it is known in Hebrew — and Michael Hammer, a University of Arizona geneticist.

Mandelbaum and Hammer want to establish a DNA database of survivors to be used in identifying some of the Holocaust-era remains recently discovered in Poland, Germany, and elsewhere in Europe. Another goal is to reunite some of the roughly 10,000 Holocaust orphans who were sent abroad after the war with family members.

The project will use tools developed to identify victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack and the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Those forensic procedures can cope with badly degraded DNA samples, such as those found in Holocaust remains.

The project is detailed in the current issue of the journal Nature.

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