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April 13, 2023
According to the New York Times, Dr. Ed Green, a paleogeneticist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, discovered a method of extracting nuclear DNA from hair follicles that do not contain a root. Green extracts the DNA and keeps that DNA in liquid form in order to compare to a DNA database called GEDmatch. This technology is groundbreaking in the field of DNA identification and may allow for significantly more efficient identification in the future. Dr. Green is unable to share his method of extracting this DNA, and who he is working with, but the New York Times gave some insight into how Green came about his methods. ~
Dr. Green was part of a team at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany in 2005, where he and his team developed “an advanced genetic sequencing technology to read DNA extracted from fossilized bones.” Green then used this advanced technology to extract the DNA from hair. Dr. Green’s discovery was really put into action by Dr. Barabara Rae-Venter, a genetic genealogist. Rae-Venter claimed she was reading a newspaper when she came across a story in which Dr. Green was able to prove that a mystery child who died in the early nineteen-hundreds was related to an identified family because of a hair found in her coffin. Rae-Venter then sent in hair samples of the victims of the Bear Brook Murders case and Dr. Green was able to effectively identify three out of the four victims just based on the hair samples he received. ~
As for the future of this technology, Dr. Green does not believe his methods will be widely implemented anytime soon. According to Green, forensic labs are not ready for this new technology and his method is expensive, costing thousands of dollars for each hair identified. Regardless of these obstacles, Green’s new method will be used to identify criminals and victims of multitudes of cases in the future. Green’s method of extracting nuclear DNA from rootless hair samples may just be the future of DNA identification. ~
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