1,641st victim of 9/11 attack on World Trade Center identified

NEW YORK -- The New York City Medical Examiner has identified a victim of the World Trade Center terror attack for the first time in more than two years.

One thousand, six hundred and forty one people have now been identified since the attack on September 11, 2001.

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The identification of the latest victim was confirmed through DNA retesting of remains recovered in 2001.

The name of the man is being withheld at the request of his family.

The medical examiner continues to try to identify all 2,753 victims of the disaster.

The office uses DNA testing and other means to match bone fragments to the people killed by the hijackers who crashed airplanes into the trade center's twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

New, more sensitive DNA technology was deployed 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 multimillion-dollar effort to connect more than 21,900 bits of remains to individual victims. 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 analyze the remains.

Over time, the medical examiner's office came to use a process that involves pulverizing the fragments to extract DNA, then comparing it to 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 identification of the man is the first of a World Trade Center victim since March 2015. Some 1,112 victims, or 40% of those who died, remain unidentified.

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Some information from the Associated Press
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