Skip to comments.Double DNA chance of identifying Saddam
Posted on 04/15/2003 11:36:14 PM PDT by Diddley
Two DNA techniques could be used to identify the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, says experts. One offers relative ease, in that the DNA samples required should be available, but the other offers far more certainty.
The US-led invasion of Iraq is now almost complete, and military forces are now searching for the leaders of the deposed regime. Identifying Saddam - dead or alive - will not be easy, as he is believed to have used many doubles.
US forces claim to have DNA samples from Saddam and his sons, but will not reveal what form they take, or how they were obtained. Experts contacted by New Scientist say the identity of a person suspected of being Saddam could be conclusively proven if DNA from that person exactly matched stored samples obtained from the dictator's personal possessions, such as a hairbrush or a toothbrush.
Such a test would compare nuclear DNA, from the cells' cores, and the odds of matching two unrelated people is one in a billion. But the provenance of the stored sample used is critical. "How do you know if it's really his?" cautions Lawrence Kobilinsky, a forensic scientist and DNA expert at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
There is a second way, Kobilinsky says - to use living relatives to provide DNA samples for comparison. This has the advantage that scientists are certain of where the samples have come from, but the DNA match, with mitochondrial DNA for example, is less sure.
(Excerpt) Read more at newscientist.com ...
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