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DNA Bank of civil war victims collects samples with the collaboration of the City Councils of La Garriga and Navàs

Members of the UB DNA Bank with the delegation of the City Council of la Garriga.

Members of the UB DNA Bank with the delegation of the City Council of la Garriga.

04/05/2016

Institucional

The city councils of la Garriga and Navàs asked the UB DNA Bank to guard DNA samples of their locals who are in search of the relatives that disappeared in the Civil War. This is the first time that the sample collecting process is done with an agreement between an institution and town councils instead of being an individual initiative. At this moment the bank guards around 120 DNA samples of people who are waiting for the mass graves to be opened and compare their DNA with the ones from the found remains so as to identify their lost relatives.

 The two city councils brought a total of 7 DNA samples. To be part of the bank, they have to take a blood sample from the lost person’s relatives. A part of this extract has the pure DNA and it is kept at a temperature of -75ºC in the Laboratory of Forensic Genetics of the UB and another part of it is given to the interested person, together with all the credit documentation. This whole process costs 150 euros, which –in this case- have been paid by the city councils.


A reference project


The genetics identity tests have been used in several occasions to determine the identity of a corpse, but it is not usual to build a DNA bank with frozen samples waiting for the corpses to exhume without being identified. There is only one similar case in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This month of April the UB DNA bank received the visit of two distinguished activists against forced disappearances in Colombia and Daguestan: Svetlana Issàeva and Luz Marina Bernal –two mothers who went through the disappearance and death of their sons. They came invited by the NGO Lliga dels Drets dels Pobles and the International Catalan Institute for Peace (ICIP).


The more direct the family link is, the easier it gets to establish the family relationship through the DNA. Bearing in mind the advanced age of the lost people’s closest relatives (sons, brothers, nephews), this makes it necessary to keep the DNA and guarantee the possible identification whenever the mass graves are open. The founders of the UB DNA Bank, led by Dra. Carme Barrot and with the collaboration of Bosch i Gimpera Foundation, estimate there are currently around 4.600 families looking for a lost relative from the Civil War.

Since last July the UB DNA Bank is part of a wider project called ADN de la memòria: Banc d’AND de la UB de victims de la Guerra Civil espanyola (The DNA of memory: theUB DNA Bank for the Spanish Civil War victims), which includes contributions from UB Solidarity –entity coordinating the European Observatory on Memories– and from the Bioetics and Law Observatory of the UB.
 

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