DNA samples taken from Burmese migrants

Jan 16, 2008 (DVB), A group of World Health Organisation officials and professors from Chiang Mai University collected DNA samples from 300 Burmese migrants yesterday at Dr Cynthia Maung's Mae Tao clinic in Mae Sot, Thailand.

Group leader Dr Tor Pong, a professor from Chiang Mai University's faculty of medicine, said that blood samples would be used for DNA testing to identify and record people by nationality and ethnic group.

Saw Thar Win, a Mae Tao clinic official, said that the records could be used to help identify migrants in future.

"A lot of Burmese migrants were killed during the tsunami in 2004, but a lot of the bodies were left unidentified, even though we knew they belonged to Burmese migrants, because there was no proper evidence to confirm it," Saw Thar Win said.

"This is going to help the next generations to track their ancestors more easily as well."

DNA samples have also been collected from Thai, Laotian and Cambodian workers.

Reporting by Saw Kanyaw

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