September 14, 2006

Genetics for Evil and for Good

The average age of holocaust survivors is now 82, and there is precious little time to link them to whatever lost family members might still be alive or to let them know the fate of loved ones they lost track of in those terrible times. So kudos to Syd Mandelbaum, Gene Codes, Michael Hammer, and James Watson, who are collaborating on the DNA Shoah Project. Bones from victims of Nazi terror are being discovered all around Germany and other European countries, and until now there has been no way to identify them or link them to survivors. Due to the need to identify remains in the aftermath of 9-11, Gene Codes developed its Mass Fatality Identification System which is being used to identify the bone fragments that still exist from the Holocaust.

The irony should not be lost here; a set of genetic tools is being used to help the victims of a regime who based its killing on a distorted vision of genetic purity. There is a kind of poetic justice in that.
Paul Root Wolpe

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