Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Interesting DNA Story

So, in a fit of boredom I decided to search one of my favorite websites for news. Reading the national news can be so boring and often times depressing and if you have clicked the link know that one of my favorite sources is National Geographic. Recently, my library quit subscribing due to lack of funding (don't get me started) and lets just say it was upsetting. So...I must have complained enough because I was given the gift of NatGeo for Valentine's Day. *HUGE SMILE*

Ok...back to the post. Upon searching the website I found an interesting article about Amelia Earhart. You can find more information about her here. However, that isn't the main point of this post. As many of you may know Amelia went missing on an attempt to circle the globe. She is purported to have gone down somewhere in the central pacific. Well, someone thinks they may have found her remains. (Of course there is controversy which I wont get into right the article for more).

The main problem with this is that she went missing in 1937. She had no children and the clothing that we know to be hers has been long since dry cleaned. Which means the chances that they would be able to retrieve DNA from them is slim. The Smithsonian Institute was said to have a lock of Earhart's hair...however, it was discovered upon testing that their sample was merely thread.

So this left the researchers without a way to verify the DNA of the remains they had found. BUT!!! Amelia was fortunate enough to live in the era of postal mail communication. And also, lucky was she to have lived in a time when letters were opened from the side with a letter opener rather than breaking the seal of the envelope. She was an avid letter sender so researchers now think they will be able to pull enough DNA from the letters she sent to compare samples and tell whether or not the bones found were hers.

How awesome is that? I never thought about DNA samples being on envelopes. Fingerprints yes, but DNA? Nah. Well..I suppose this article has changed my mind. Anyway, I just thought this article was neat so I hope that you found it interesting too.

Do you lick your envelopes to send? If not, what is your way of sealing the envelopes?


  1. I used to always lick 'em, but then after mad cow disease and all that - and considering what glue is made of - I'm a little more cautious.
    More importantly, your library's decision to stop subscribing to National Geographic is alarming. I don't have a lot of money, but I wonder if they would accept a gift subscription. I'd spring for it.

  2. I completely understand your not licking the envelope! I usually do if I forget, but sometimes I will just use a glue stick. Less hassle and of course..I dont have that awful taste in my mouth.

    As for NatGeo at my library. I offered to buy a subscription an was told that we arent soliciting for donations. And it was left at that. I find it absolutely ridiculous that we are keeping...(large sigh) Oprah's magazine and doing away with National Geographic and Smithsonian. After all arent libraries places of learning?

  3. Isn't science incredible?! I've heard of this technique before, I think DNA found on stamps has been used to identify missing WWII soldiers or something like that.

    No NatGeo at the library is an abomination! I have my own subscription, but my library doesn't have it either. They do have Cosmo and Oprah and People and Vogue. And Lucky and Marie Claire and Bazaar.

  4. I know!! I completely understand that people may not be able to afford magazines such as vogue and O...but um...last time I checked..the library was an institution of learning. Oh well. If only I ran the library.

  5. I stopped getting Natl. geographic for an odd reason. It was because I couldn't throw them away. I seriously had trouble parting with them, but I also didn't want them piling up. Natl. Geographic is almost more of a book than a magazine.