29/01/2019 - Tuam Home Survivors' Network, representing survivors of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home and families of the lost children of Tuam has this morning urged the Government to begin collecting their DNA samples immediately.

This work should proceed in a way that will be of greatest benefit to the greatest number of survivors, victims and families. For this to be achieved, as much information as possible should be obtained from each sample of human remains. The quantifying of the DNA extracted is the paramount task to be accomplished. 

Based on this quantity, a decision can then be made on the best method to use to achieve the best outcome:

(a) High yield of DNA – Standard Forensic testing using STR analysis to determine relationship to those searching for a family member; if no match is found, move on to DNA Microarray technology using SNP analysis to search genealogy companies.  Then perform WGS for further information on genealogy, medical history, etc.

(b) Low yield of DNA – Proceed directly to WGS to obtain the greatest amount of information possible.

The methodology of course, should be peer reviewed and/or follow guidelines from other sites for example, World Trade Centre, California fires, ancient sites, etc. In the event, the quantity is insufficient for current analysis, it should be safely and appropriately stored future analysis when technology advances will present new opportunities for matching.

There is a certain urgency to this process given age profile and health status. Results from our ageing and in, some cases, frail membership should be banked to eliminate any delay in returning human remains to identifiable relatives for dignified burials.