Wednesday, February 23, 2011

If It Was CSI, They Would Have Had the Answer by Now

Letter DNA could unseal mystery of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance
...A Canadian scientist could soon have the lingering mystery of aviator Amelia Earhart’s disappearance licked. Donya Yang, a forensic scientist at Simon Fraser University, is extracting DNA from some of Earhart’s personal letters and envelopes — which should have still genetic evidence left over from her saliva. The letters were written by Earhart in the years before her disappearance over the middle of the Pacific Ocean in 1937. Yang will then have a potential sample that could prove a genetic match for a finger bone fragment, found on the island of Nikumaroro in 2009, that has been touted as possibly belonging to Earhart...
Us lab rats always get a special laugh when the TV programs show a DNA sample collected, analyzed and linked to a suspect in one day.  The various CSIs are the worst offenders, particularly Miami, which often gets a match off an odd cigarette butt within a few minutes, while the suspect is still cooling in an interrogation cell.  Real DNA tests still take weeks if not months, assuming the laboratory has the time available to work on a single sample full time.

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