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Geneticist says new technology means DNA could be gathered from Tuam babies

Advances in genetic technology mean that DNA samples could be taken from the remains buried at the Tuam Mother and Baby Home according to a leading geneticist.

Professor Aoife McLysaght, head of Trinity’s Smurfit Institute of Genetics, said that it was now possible to gather DNA samples from the Tuam babies.

This contradicts what a government report stated last year, though Professor McLysaght said that report was later updated to match new information.

The Irish Independent reports that Professor McLysaght was speaking at an event in Trinity where Catherine Corless was being awarded an honourary degree by the university.

Catherine Corless has been commended many times for her work that led to story of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home coming to national attention.

The remains of an estimated 796 children are buried at the Tuam Home site.

While it has been decided to exhume them, it has been a subject of some speculation whether or not a proper DNA analysis would be able to be carried out to identify the children.

For many families, there is a cloud of uncertainty over what happened to children and siblings that were born at the Mother and Baby Home.

It’s possible that some believed or feared to be dead could have been part of the illegal adoption scandal that saw death, birth, and adoption records falsified.

A DNA analysis of the remains at the Tuam Home site may be the only chance at closure for those families trying to track children.

According to Professor McLysaght, it would now be possible to take DNA samples from these remains, and compare them against samples family members would have to provide.

Speaking at the 90 minute event, Catherine Corless said that at least 30 families were looking to trace babies.

For her part, she said she would like to see them given proper burials.

Briain Kelly
Email: news@galwaydaily.com

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