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Excessive heat thwarts DNA probe

Remains believed those of Ayotzinapa students are challenge for DNA testing

Routine DNA analysis employed by forensic researchers in Austria isn’t sufficient to identify remains believed to be those of the missing students from the Ayotzinapa teacher training college.

The federal attorney general’s office says the University of Innsbruck has advised that the excessive heat used to incinerate the bodies has destroyed the DNA and mitochondrial DNA. The university’s institute of legal medicine expressed doubt in early December that they would be able to identify the remains.

Only one student, Alexander Mora Venancio, has been identified.

The institute said the next option is to use a technology called Massive Parallel Sequencing, a process it described as promising but one that could take up to three months to complete.

The attorney general has asked that it proceed with the new studies.

The investigation into the disappearance of the students during the night of September 26 in Iguala, Guerrero, has concluded that local police delivered them to members of the Guerreros Unidos crime gang, who then killed them and incinerated the bodies at a municipal garbage dump in nearby Cocula.

Scientists at the National Autonomous University have disputed that version, claiming that it would not have been possible to burn that many bodies in the space available and without very large quantities of fuel. They have suggested it was more likely they were burned in a modern crematorium.

As well, the army has been accused of participating in the events in Iguala that night, in which six others were killed and two dozen wounded.

Officials have denied both claims.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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