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Remains of 9/11 victim identified 16 years after terror attack

First new identification since March 2015 made possible by more sensitive DNA technology that tests bone fragments

The remains of a man killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11 have been identified nearly 16 years after the terror attacks.

His name was withheld at his familys request, the New York City medical examiners office said.

The announcement marked the first new identification made since March 2015 in the painstaking, ongoing effort. The office uses DNA testing and other means to match bone fragments to the 2,753 people killed by the hijackers who crashed airplanes into the twin towers on 11 September, 2001.

Remains of 1,641 victims have been identified so far, leaving 40% of those who died unidentified.

New, more sensitive DNA technology was deployed earlier this year and helped make the latest identification after earlier testing produced no results, the medical examiners office said on Monday.

As DNA testing advanced, so has the multimillion-dollar effort to connect more than 21,900 pieces of remains to individual victims. Few full bodies were recovered after the giant towers burned and collapsed, and the effects of heat, bacteria and chemicals such as jet fuel made it all the more difficult to analyse the remains.

Over time, the medical examiners office came to use a process that involves pulverizing the fragments to extract DNA, then comparing it to the offices collection of genetic material from victims or their relatives. Most of the DNA profiles generated belong to previously identified victims.

In some cases, scientists have gone back to the same bone fragment 10 or more times, hoping new technology will provide answers.

The 9/11 airliner attacks killed a total of nearly 3,000 people in New York, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/08/remains-911-victim-identified-16-years-terror-attack

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