DNA Technique Reveals Looks of Long-Dead Humans
2013 01 21

By Charles Choi | LiveScience.com




The color of the eyes and hair of ancestors dead for hundreds of years can now be revealed from their DNA alone, researchers say.

These findings suggest investigators not only can uncover new details from centuries-old human remains, but can also help identify crime victims, scientists added.

By comparing genomes across thousands of people, researchers identified genetic variations at 24 different points in the human genome that are linked with eye and hair colors, which past studies used to help determine the appearance of people who had died relatively recently. Now a team of researchers from Poland and the Netherlands have developed this system further to reveal the appearance of people long dead.

"We were able to look at the appearance of people who died several hundred years ago," researcher Wojciech Branicki, a geneticist at the Institute of Forensic Research and Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, told LiveScience.

For instance, the researchers analyzed DNA from Gen. Władysław Sikorski, who was born in 1881 and died in 1943. During World War II, Sikorski was commander-in-chief of the Polish Armed Forces and was also prime minister of the Polish government in exile. He died in an airplane crash at Gibraltar. By analyzing genes from one of his teeth, the researchers confirmed he had the blue eyesand blond hair seen in portraits painted many years after his death.

"This system can be used to solve historical controversies where color photographs or other records are missing," Branicki said.

The researchers say their system, called HIrisPlex, can predict either blue or brown eye colors with about 94 percent accuracy. When it comes to hair color, it has accuracies of 69.5 percent for blond, 78.5 percent for brown, 80 percent for red and 87.5 percent for black.

For medieval samples, where DNA is relatively degraded, this system was still capable of predicting eye and hair color from remains about 800 years old. For instance, the researchers identified one mysterious woman from between the 12th and 14th centuries A.D. who was buried in a crypt of the Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec near Kraków, where only remains of male monks were expected. The results hint that she had dark blond or brown hair and brown eyes.

Although this research can help reveal what ancient human ancestors might have looked like based on their DNA alone, Branicki thinks the most practical aspect of their work is how it can help identify corpses for forensic analysis. For instance, "some of our samples were from unknown inmates of a World War II prison," he said. "In these cases, HIrisPlex helped to put physical features to the other DNA evidence."

[...]

Read the full article at: livescience.com






Related Articles
Personal Genomes Could Soon Be Public Information
Are genes our destiny? ’Hidden’ code in DNA evolves more rapidly than genetic code
The Trouble with Adam Lanza’s DNA
Christmas Tree DNA: complex conifer genome ’dauntingly huge’
Shrunken Head DNA Proves Horrific Folklore True


Latest News from our Front Page

Starbucks Supports Pro-GMO Company
2014 11 26
Another reason why you should not go to Starbucks. Starbucks has an image of being a socially responsible, environmentally friendly company (Really?). In 2013, 95 percent of their coffee was ethically sourced, and their goal is to reach 100 percent by 2015.1 Other goals include reducing water consumption by 25 percent in their company-operated stores by 20152 and mobilizing their employees and ...
Group Polarization and the Fad of Ethno-masochism
2014 11 26
From "Group polarization: A critical review and meta-analysis". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 6 50 (6): 1141--1151 The psychology of White self hatred. Political correctness IS a mental disorder. More: Group polarization: A critical review and meta-analysis. Isenberg, Daniel J. the paper Indoctrinate U Harvard Professor Noel Ignatiev talks about how to end the White race The History of Political Correctness The Narrative: The origins of Political ...
Credo: A Nietzschean Testament by Jonathan Bowden
2014 11 26
This lecture by Jonathan Bowden was given at the 11th New Right meeting in London on September 8, 2007. The original title of the presentation was “The Art and Philosophy of Jonathan Bowden.” I think ideas are inborn, and you’re attracted, if you have any, toward certain systems of thinking and sensibility and response. From a very young age, I was ...
A Look Back at the OJ Simpson Verdict -- Reactions
2014 11 26
This is a look back at the different reactions to the OJ Simpson verdict some 20 years ago (exact date of verdict was Oct 3, 1995). The OJ Simpson jury consisted of 9 Blacks, 1 Hispanic, and 2 Whites. It would raise eyebrows after they only deliberated for 4 hours in a case that they were involved in for almost ...
New York Times Publishes Darren Wilson’s Street Address and Photo of House #Ferguson
2014 11 26
Hey here are the two @nytimes scumbags that published Wilson’s home address. —> @juliebosman & @campbellnyt— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) November 25, 2014 Michael Brown’s Stepdad Shouting ‘Burn This Bitch Down’ The New York Times published information about the address of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on Monday in a move that has generated controversy. Tensions are running high in Ferguson, Missouri, as ...
More News »