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McCanns: Madeleine DNA samples too degraded for proper analysis - police

By Rich Bowden, M&C Staff Writer Dec 4, 2007, 16:20 GMT

McCanns: Madeleine DNA samples too degraded for proper analysis - police

FILE) A picture dated 10 August 2007 shows Gerry (R) and Kate McCann, parents of the four-year-old British girl, Madeleine McCann, who disappeared from the Algarve resort of Priaia da Luz in May 2007, during a press conference in Lagos, Portugal. EPA/LUIS FORRA

(M&C) - Portuguese investigators into the disappearance of missing British girl Madeleine McCann have admitted that DNA collected is too small, too degraded and badly contaminated for successful analysis.

"It is highly unlikely they will find a DNA connection," a police source told the Portuguese 24 Horas newspaper.

However British scientists believe positive identification is still possible.

Expert Dr Ronald Denny said: "It's not a hopeless task. If they have 17 cells they can carry it off," he said. 

"It is a minute sample - something which 20 years ago, or even ten years ago, could not have been worked on."

However British forensic investigators at the Forensic Science Service (FSS) in Birmingham are believed to be employing a radical new technology called "Low Copy Number" in their analysis which involves scientists "growing" extra copies of the DNA suitable for repeat testing.

Meanwhile Portuguese police have indicated they want to re-interview the McCanns and their seven friends with whom they dined on the night of Madeleine's disappearance to iron out alleged inconsistencies.

The McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said: "Kate and Gerry's friends have consistently said they are happy to be re-interviewed by police if necessary. Indeed, they are keen to help if it clears up any inconsistencies."

"They, like Gerry and Kate, have nothing to hide," he added.

Four-year-old Madeleine disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in in Praia da Luz on May 3 while her parents were at the resort entertaining friends.


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