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Tissue regulator considers UK’s first ‘body farm’ to study human remains

The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) is working with researchers on how to regulate the UK’s first “body farm”, a facility used to study how bodies decompose.

The information gleaned from body farms, called taphonomic centres, can be used to inform police investigations into murders, for example. The first such facility in Europe is due to open in the Netherlands later this year, after Amsterdam’s Academic Medical Center obtained a permit to establish it in January.

John Cassella, professor of forensic science education at Staffordshire University, said that taphonomic centres were valuable sources for helping the police in missing person’s inquiries. “There are tonnes of cases of missing people such as Madeleine McCann that have been suspected to have been placed in either a terrestrial grave or an aquatic grave,” he said.

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