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Matching DNA for Missing Answers

The New York City medical examiner is spearheading an effort to identify missing persons by matching DNA from that person or a family member to unidentified remains, the Associated Press reports. It adds that thousands of DNA samples have been given to the medical examiner's office over the past 10 years, leading to the identification of about 50 people.

"People will not rest without answers, at least some answers, Barbara Sampson, the medical examiner, tells the AP.

The AP notes that the New York medical examiner's office has been at the forefront of using genetic forensic approaches since relying on them to identify victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It adds advances since then mean the process now needs smaller DNA samples and that part of the process is done by a robotic assembly line.

The program isn't just for people who went missing in New York, adds Mark Desire from the medical examiner's office. The genetic profiles they generate are added to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.