12:00 AM, November 29, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 29, 2012

Unidentified Dead

Kishoreganj farmer first to try DNA test

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Shaheen Mollah

A farmer from Kishoreganj, who lost his daughter in the Tazreen Fashions disaster, went to the National DNA Profiling Laboratory at Dhaka Medical College yesterday to give his blood sample in the hope of locating her grave.
Suma Akhter, 16, daughter of Bakul Miah, 38, was on duty at Tazreen Fashions in Nischintapur of Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital when the fire broke out on Saturday night.
She is missing and presumed dead.
Bakul Miah, the father, yesterday filled up a form with his contact information at the lab.
Bakul told The Daily Star his only wish was to find the grave of his daughter so that he could visit it occasionally and pray for the eternal peace of her soul.
Work on DNA profiling from samples collected from the bodies of 59 unidentified victims started yesterday.
Fifty-three of the unidentified victims were buried at Jurain Graveyard on Tuesday. The bodies of six victims were handed over to their relatives after they identified their dear ones at the DMC morgue.
The DNA samples from all 59 bodies were collected on Monday and kept at the National Forensic DNA Profiling Laboratory.
Ahmad Ferdous, scientific officer at the laboratory, told The Daily Star that the lab had collected samples and had tagged the bodies with numbers before they were buried in tagged graves.
He said the laboratory would make a database of DNA samples collected and match those with the parents or children of the victims.
He said teeth, tissues and bones of the victims had been collected as samples for DNA profiling.
However, one to three months could be required to make DNA profiling of the samples collected. DNA profiling of relatives of the victims would take less time, he said.
Ferdous added that the lab authorities were keeping contact information of the victims' relatives. If their DNA profiles matched with that of a body, they would inform the authorities concerned and the relatives of the matter.
Relatives of many Tazreen employees, who are missing and are believed to be dead, are at a loss as to how and where to go for DNA sampling.
Nilufar Begum, who lost her parents, brother and brother's wife in the blaze, was trying to get to the laboratory yesterday but could not as she did not have proper information.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecules are informational molecules encoding the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms and many viruses. Genetic information is encoded as a sequence of nucleotides in DNA, according to Wikipedia.

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