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New DNA test identifies 9/11 victim's remains nearly 16 years later

The remains of a man killed at the World Trade Centre on September 11 have been identified nearly 16 years after the terror attacks.

His name was withheld at his family's request, the New York City medical examiner's office said.

The announcement marked the first new identification made since March 2015 in the painstaking effort.

The office uses DNA testing and other means to match bone fragments to the 2,753 people killed by the hijackers who crashed planes into the trade centre's twin towers in 2001.

Remains of 1,641 victims have been identified so far, meaning 40% of those who died have no remains identified.

New, more sensitive DNA technology was used earlier this year and helped make the latest identification after earlier testing produced no results, the medical examiner's office said.

As DNA testing advanced, so has the multi-million-dollar effort to connect more than 21,900 pieces of remains to individuals.

Few full bodies were recovered after the giant towers burned and collapsed and the effects of heat, bacteria and chemicals such as jet fuel made it all the more difficult to analyse the remains.

Over time, the medical examiner's office came to use a process that involves pulverising the fragments to extract DNA, then comparing it with the office's collection of genetic material from victims or their relatives.

Most of the DNA profiles generated belong to previously identified victims.

In some cases, scientists have gone back to the same bone fragment 10 or more times, hoping new technology will provide answers.

The 9/11 attacks killed a total of nearly 3,000 people, in New York, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

AP

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