Catch the kids: Argentinian grandmothers use DNA to track down stolen children

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It’s been over 30 years since Argentina emerged from a military dictatorship that devolved into a “Dirty War.” But even now, reports UPI’s Andrew V. Pestano, Argentinian women whose babies were abducted under the military junta are looking for their children. And they have added a powerful tool to their quest to find the missing: DNA.

From 1976 to 1983, Argentina’s military dictators ran a program to root out dissidents and political opponents. They called it the “Process of National Reorganization,” but Argentinians called it the “Dirty War”: A brutal reign of terror that resulted in the disappearance of up to 30,000 people who were abducted, tortured and killed. Many children disappeared or born after their mothers were raped in prison, and then adopted by childless couples in the military and police forces.

In 1977, writes Pestano, a group of bereft grandmothers formed a group called Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo). They set out to find over 400 stolen children. Today, writes Pestano, they’ve identified 117.

The grandmothers’ quest has even led to new advancements in DNA identification, reports PRI. Since 1984, geneticist Mary-Claire King has worked with the organization, coming up with a novel way to use mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited only from mothers, to identify individuals.

Read full, original post: Argentinian Grandmothers Are Using DNA to Tack Down Stolen Children