Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 11464
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2022/06/30 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

2003/12/15-16 [Politics/Foreign/MiddleEast/Iraq] UID:11464 Activity:nil
12/15   DNA Testing used to confirm Saddam's Identity:
2022/06/30 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

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Fast-track DNA tests were used to confirm the identity of deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, after his capture by US forces on Saturday. DNA profiling experts contacted by New Scientist are surprised at the speed of the results, but all agree such a rapid conclusion would be possible. I have to say Im quite impressed, says Alec Jeffreys at the University of Leicester, UK, who pioneered DNA profiling techniques. Hussein was discovered at 2026 local time 1226 EST in a small underground chamber near a shack in the village of Ad Dawr, south of his hometown Tikrit. The man was then conveyed to a secure area by 1315 EST and US President George Bush was informed that a man thought to be Saddam Hussein had been captured. However, it was not until 0514 EST on Sunday, that Bush received confirmation of Husseins identity. Major General Ray Odierno, commander of 4 th infantry division that caught Hussein, said the former dictator confirmed his identity when asked. Im Saddam Hussein, Im the president of Iraq and Im willing to negotiate, he told his captors, report MSNBC. The man also had a small tattoo on one hand, believed to indicate Hussein. However, DNA tests were carried out to prove the prisoner was not one of the many body doubles of the former dictator. Blood or saliva The three required stages of DNA profiling could be done quickly if scientists were on standby, Jeffreys told New Scientist . The DNA is then amplified using a standard technique called polymerase chain reaction PCR, which takes a couple of hours. Charlotte Word, laboratory director at Orchid Cellmark, Maryland, which conducted DNA tests on the victims of the September 11 attacks, is also surprised by the speed of the testing, but agrees it is possible with a good blood or saliva sample. She notes that tests for use in criminal cases often takes much longer because samples are scant or contaminated. Lawrence Kobilinsky, a DNA expert at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, US, adds that DNA profiling in criminal cases can also be delayed due to paperwork. Kobilinsky says that the military appear to already have Husseins genetic profile stored away for comparison. US forces claimed to have samples from the dictator in April 2003. This could be from personal items such as a toothbrush or cup he drank from, Kobilinsky told New Scientist . They certainly had access to the two sons, Uday and Qusay, who were killed, he says. A very quick way of identifying Saddam Hussein would be to compare the new sample with variable regions called short tandem repeats on the sons Y-chromosomes. As this male sex chromosome is passed directly from father to son, it should match. Kobilinsky suspects both Y-chromosome DNA and other DNA from the nucleuss of Husseins cells would have been tested. The experts also believe the tests are unlikely to have been conducted in the field, but at a laboratory in Iraq or a neighbouring country.