Mailing List:2001-01-29 04, Re: DNA Evidence of Descent???, by Jeanne Muse

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Mailing List Archives > 2001-01-29 04, Re: DNA Evidence of Descent???, by Jeanne Muse

From: "Jeanne Muse" <jwmuse -at-> Subject: Re: [WHITNEY-L] DNA Evidence of Descent??? Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2001 09:05:39 -0500 References: <> <> <009c01c08a0a$e9ce6ea0$4b8c90c6@oemcomputer> Dear WRG: My daughter is a Graduate student at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, and will receive her Masters degree in Microbiology and Genetics this May. While much of our conversations on the topic of DNA are way above my head, I have gleaned a few tidbits that may be of interest toward this discussion. Various articles in scientific magazines that I have read (usually while sitting in the doctor's office waiting room), have also given me a little more understanding. DNA samples are gathered from microscopic cells - a tiny piece of hair, for instance, would do fine. Samples must be obtained very carefully by a fully qualified person so they don't become contaminated. Establishing connection to earlier generations would also require "samples". It is doubtful, therefore, that one could establish absolute verification of descendancy to a person who died in the 17th century, for whom no sample can be obtained. Even if a rare sample exists, centuries of exposure would probably make it useless. (Unless the person was mummified ... and then we're talking about an entirely different set of rules.) Our WRG membership includes some learned physicians and scientists who, I am sure, will be more knowledgeable than I. The scientific study of DNA is in its infancy, so to speak, although tremendous strides have been made in our lifetime. It may be possible for us to save a portion of our own DNA for future generational study, however. Jeanne

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