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ISIS leader al-Baghdadi’s remains may have been identified with new rapid DNA testing technology

| | November 4, 2019
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Image: Associated Press
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

On Sunday (October 27), President Donald Trump announced that US Special Operations forces had cornered Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the current leader of the Islamic State. After such a high-profile raid, it was crucial to confirm that the man who had detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and several children, was indeed the target.

In the announcement, Trump said that “part of the genius” of those who carried out the raid was that they brought lab technicians and a previously acquired sample of Baghdadi’s DNA to conduct an “on-site test” …  He went on to say, “It was a very quick call that took place about 15 minutes after he was killed and it was positive. It was ‘this is a confirmation, sir.’”

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Some have taken the comment to mean that the military has developed new DNA analysis technology, capable of confirming a match within 15 minutes. So far, the fastest known systems take about 90 minutes.

Five years ago, confirming a DNA match could have taken days. … To confirm Baghdadi’s identity through DNA analysis back then, the sample would have been taken to a laboratory equipped with freezers and multiple instruments that purify, quantify, and amplify the DNA.

Read full, original post: Did On-Site Rapid DNA Testing Identify al-Baghdadi’s Remains?

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