DNA bank to assist search for El Salvador's missing children
An article in the Contra Costa Times describes how DNA technology is being employed to assist in the reunification of families with their children who disappeared during the Salvadoran civil war:
With help from UC Berkeley's Human Rights Center and the California Department of Justice DNA lab in Richmond, Perez Navarrete and his group in El Salvador hope to identify more children who were taken from their families by force during the civil war that engulfed the country in the 1980s and '90s.
"It's like a rule in this country to forget," said Perez Navarrete, a psychologist with the Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos, a group that seeks to reunite kidnapped children with their families.
"We're trying to do it for 12 years, especially because the government is always trying to erase all the memories in this country, especially of the war."
Pro-Búsqueda has identified more than 700 families who want to locate the "disappeared" children who were lost or taken during the war. Last summer Liz Barnert, a student at the UC Berkeley-San Francisco Joint Medical Program, helped collect DNA samples from the families, many in El Salvador's northern regions.
She brought them back to the Richmond crime lab, and DNA technicians, working off hours as volunteers, are assembling a database of the genetic material.(more)