31 July 2008
Great War dead and mtDNA
Defence Science and Personnel Minister Warren Snowdon MP today announced the Australian and British governments have agreed to exhume and individually rebury missing Great War soldiers recently discovered at Pheasant Wood, although he appears to have stopped short of supporting their identification through DNA technology which is now widely available. MtDNA testing has now developed sufficiently to spur the ADF into constructing a voluntary human DNA database for military purposes as a means of identifying current members killed in accidents or on operations. Faced with major scientific advances concerning mitochondrial DNA, along with testing which can show the country of origin of skeletal remains in mass graves, the Federal Government should uphold international law relating to Australia's war dead as the forgotten soldiers at Fromelles deserve to be identified.