UK scraps plans to test DNA of asylum seekers

By the Associated Press | June 17, 2011 | 7:14 AM EDT

LONDON (AP) — Britain has dropped a controversial policy of using DNA tests to identify the nationality of refugees and asylum seekers.

The U.K. Border Agency said in a statement Friday it "does not plan to take forward DNA or isotope testing for country of origin identification purposes." It has also suspended an internal review of the project.

The DNA testing was first introduced in 2009 for certain asylum seekers claiming to be from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan.

At the time, many leading scientists slammed the project, saying DNA tests could not confirm a person's ancestry and other tests could only confirm a person's recent whereabouts.