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Archive for the ‘Ancestry’ Category

Did Hitler Have A Son?

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 2:08 PM
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New evidence emerged in February of 2012 to support the controversial claim that Hitler had a son with a French teenager.

The man, Jean-Marie Loret, who claimed to be the Hitler’s son back in 1981 in his autobiography titled “Your Father’s Name Was Hitler.” Died four years later, at the age of 67, having never been able to prove his family line. Loret’s Paris lawyer, François Gibault, told a French magazine that a number of photographs and documents can now support the claim of paternity to Hitler, as well as how Loret discovered his heritage.

Jean-Marie Loret was born in March, 1918. He grew up knowing nothing about his father, only that his mother, Charlotte Lobjoie, had given him away for adoption to a family with the name Loret. It wasn’t until the early 1950s, just before his biological mother’s death, that she told him her secret – that at 16 year of age she had a brief affair with Adolf Hitler and he was conceived after what she claimed was a “tipsy” evening in June 1917.

Charlotte Lobjoie told Jean-Marie Loret “I was cutting hay with other women, when we saw a German soldier on the other side of the street. He had a sketch pad and seemed to be drawing. All the women found this soldier interesting and wanted to know what he was drawing. They picked me to try to approach him,” she said. They started a brief relationship, and the following year Jean-Marie was born.

“On the rare occasions your father was around, he liked to take me for walks in the countryside. But these walks usually ended badly. Your father, inspired by nature, launched into speeches I did not really understand,” Miss Lobjoie said. She recalled that Loret’s father did not speak French “but solely ranted in German, talking to an imaginary audience.”

The new evidence included official Wehrmacht, documents which show that officers brought envelopes of cash to Lobjoie during the German occupation of France. In addition paintings signed “Adolf Hitler” were discovered in Miss Lobjoie’s attic, including a picture of a woman painted by Hitler which according to Le Point magazine, “looked exactly like Loret’s mother.”

In what he called a “manic effort” to prove or disprove his mother’s claim, Loret used the services of  geneticists, handwriting experts and historians. In an effort to share his discovery and the journey that followed, Loret wrote a book titled “Your Father’s Name Was Hitler,”.

Loret’s lawyer, Gibault, states that Loret’s children could claim royalties from Hitler’s Mein Kampf based on this evidence.

 

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Failure of Genetic Passports for Plants, Animals and Microorganisms

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:26 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The idea of creating genetic passports for, plants, animals, microorganisms was a very hot topic between 2007 and looked like it was on it’s way to becoming a common, standard practice. However, at this time, for the most part, these burgeoning ideas seem to have been put on hold.

The idea to create genetic passports was suggested by the Technical Expert Group of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Lima, Peru and was backed by a group of experts from over 25 countries. The proposal, which stated that 150 countries, who signed a 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) treaty, would have sovereignty over the genetic resources originating within their borders and could control the use of their genetic resources outside of their borders. They would do so by providing specific information such as the material’s origin, its characteristics and the institutions responsible for providing and/or using it.

While the proposal was widely praised and supported, it does not appear that it was ever adapted by the Convention on Biological Diversity.  In fact, in a paper entitled “Genetic Diversity and Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources” the author(s) state that:

Accurate passport and characterization data are the first requirements, but users of plant genetic resources, particularly plant breeders, have also emphasized the need for improved evaluation of accessions. Evaluation is a complex process and there is serious backlog in most collections.

However, you can be assured that genetic passports for non-human organisms is on it’s way even if it is not currently implemented. Were there is a will, there is a way.

If you enjoyed this story you might also enjoy: Genetic Passports…A Thing Of The Past?‪ ‬

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Black Death DNA Decoded

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:02 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I just came across an article distributed by the National Public Radio (NPR) about a scientific beak though in DNA sequencing. This article just goes to show that DNA can answer current question about crimes, relationships and health but it can also help us look into our past.

Scientists have used DNA lurking inside the teeth of medieval Black Death victims to figure out the entire genetic code of the deadly bacterium that swept across Europe more than 600 years ago, killing an estimated half of the population…

People back then had no access to modern antibiotics and were likely weakened by other infections as well.

Poinar says the ancient Black Death DNA looks so similar to Yersinia pestis that still infects people today that researchers believe the medieval strain must be the ancestor of all modern strains.

The Natural History Museum of Denmark’s Thomas Gilbert says the insights that come from these studies will be of interest not only from a historical perspective, but also to help scientists understand how deadly epidemics have emerged in the past so that they can get ready for what might come in the future.

For the full story see: Decoded DNA Reveals Details Of Black Death

While this field of research might not seem very practical at first glance there is a wealth of knowledge about, diseases, bacteria and the ways we interact with them and how they spread and change.

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Pearl Harbor: DNA Testing Brings Hope To Missing Soldiers’ Families

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 2:57 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On December 7, 1941 the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor in a surprise attack that decimated the US Pacific Fleet. Of the ships that were attacked few sank as fast or as completely as the Oklahoma, which listed and capsized within minutes after a rapid series of direct torpedo strikes.

Survivors from the Oklahoma described a surreal scene below deck of sloshing water and fuel oil, men trying to climb from the darkness through hatches, beating their way out with tools. Hundreds remained trapped in interior compartments. Of the dead on the Oklahoma, 36 were easily recovered and identified. The remainder were not able to be identified and were interred in communal caskets.

Approximately 74,000 soldiers from World War II still remain unaccounted for. About one-quarter of those are considered recoverable by the military’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, the Hawaii organization that has relied on scientific and geopolitical changes to identify more than 600 long-lost MIAs since 2003.

The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command’s military and civilian teams have tracked down aircraft wrecks and burial sites in remote locations, exhumed remains, and analyzed bone fragments and bits of material at the world’s largest forensic anthropology lab. They work with casualty offices from each branch to find survivors and collect DNA samples for matching. For each name, the military tries to locate at least two relatives who share a long-lasting form of DNA passed along maternal lines.

In Hawaii, Greg Berg, the forensic anthropologist who manages the joint command’s Central Identification Laboratory, cautions that the work to identify remains could take years, the process he warns is complicated by commingling of remains which is far more extensive than expected. Only five people have been definitively identified since 2003.

Still, “the commingling problems are not insurmountable, and [we are] confident in our abilities to eventually bring about case resolution,’’ Berg said by e-mail.

For more see: Boston Globe

If you enjoyed this story you might also enjoy: Dog Tages Out DNA Profiles In‪ ‬

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Have you read; “Wolf In Dog’s Clothing?”

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 1:52 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Science Daily’s article “Wolf in Dog’s Clothing?” opens the door for new studies in animal genetics and domestication. Scientists have been able to prove that domesticated dogs that bred with wolves thousands of years ago and that this gave wolves a genetic mutation encoding dark coat color.  As a result, the Gray Wolf is no longer just gray.  In addition scientists are reporting that the darker colored wolves have advantages over their lighter pack mates in forested areas. This is leading scientists to believe that these advantages are due to the addition of that domesticated dog DNA.

This study was conducted by Genetics professor Greg Barsh, MD, PhD, and one of his  graduate students, Tovi Anderson, as well as other scientist collaborators.  They compared DNA collected from 41 black, white and gray wolves in the Canadian Arctic and 224 black and gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park with that of domestic dogs and gray and black coyotes.  This study confirmed that the black-coat gene shows evidence of positive selection in forest wolves. It also showed that the gene is dominant, meaning that an animal with only one copy of the gene would still have a black coat. Ten out of fourteen pups conceived by the mating between a black wolf and a gray wolf carried the gene and were black.

Anderson and her collaborators used a variety of genetic tests to determine that the mutation was likely introduced into wolves by domesticated dogs sometime in the last 10,000 to 15,000 years. This was about the same time the first Native American humans were migrating across the Bering land bridge. These humans were probably accompanied by dogs, some of which carried the black-coat mutation estimated to have arisen about 50,000 years ago.

Barsh said, “We were really surprised to find that domestic animals can serve as a genetic reservoir that can benefit the natural populations from which they were derived. It’s also fascinating to think that a portion of the first Native American dogs, which are now extinct, may live on in wolves.”

For the full article see:

http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2009/02/090205142137.htm

(Stanford University Medical Center. “Wolf In Dog’s Clothing? Black Wolves May Be First ‘Genetically Modified’ Predators.” ScienceDaily 6 February 2009. 24 April 2009 <http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2009/02/090205142137.htm>)

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DNA Proves Dog Belongs To Worried Couple

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 1:39 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

February 20th was a big day for Darlene and Cliff Ryckman.  It was the day when they got back their missing dog Molly.  Molly the Shih Tzu made it home because of DNA testing which was completed by local police.

In an unusual case that spanned nearly a year, DNA sample were taken to prove that Molly belonged to Cliff and Darlene Ryckman.

Molly had no microchip and no tattoo, so when the tiny dog went missing last year the Ryckmans were at a loss to prove the identity of the dog they had raised from birth.  Even though they found out who in the neighborhood had taken her in.

Darlene, said ”I thought you know what, they do it on humans, they got to do it on animals,” when asked where shy got the idea to preform a DNA test on Molly.

The Ryckmans also own Molly’s sire, Howey, and had the DNA paternity test done to compare genetic material between the two. In all three test were performed on each dog.

The stressful year started last March 4 when the two dogs were let out into the back yard of the family’s home.  The gate wasn’t quite shut, and the two dogs started to chase a cat and the next thing Darlene knew, she couldn’t find Molly.

“I prayed every day,” she said. “I went to a psychic. I put it in The Spectator.”  Darlene also put an announcement on local TV, got the word out at some schools and put up flyers.

Almost right after Molly went missing, a woman responded to the flyers Darlene had posted.  She said had seen two people in the neighborhood pick up a Shih Tzu and take it into an apartment building.  Cliff, tracked down a specific apartment, and was told by a woman there that they did not have Molly.

The Ryckmans weren’t convinced and they were persistent with police.  Eventually they ended up face-to-face with the people who had picked up Molly on the street when they were out with Molly.  Darlene said of the encounter, “Seeing Molly just walking away from me … she was going nuts when she seen me and my husband, and I just broke down because I couldn’t take my dog and these people wouldn’t give me my dog back.”

Cliff said the whole situation was very upsetting for the couple.  He said,”It upset me to go to work because my wife would be crying everyday.”

But finally, after much determination and pursuing Molly through three moves by the people who had Molly, the Ryckmans paid $110 for DNA tests for the two dogs.  Constable Annette Huys, one of two officers working on the case, took the DNA samples.  Huys said, “I’d just come out of the forensic unit, so I was used to collecting lots of DNA, but not necessarily from dogs.”  Huys said unfortunately everybody had fallen in love with the Molly and it didn’t matter which side police dealt with, they were always crying when it came to talking about the Molly.

It took about two weeks for the samples to come back a match. Molly was returned to her the Ryckmans on February 20th.

Staff Sergeant Jack Langhorn called the entire case including taking doggy DNA “extremely unusual.” He said, “It was a unique situation … It wouldn’t be something that we’re going to do on a regular basis.”

Darlene said she’s grateful to the two officers who worked on the case and that, she’ll be getting Molly microchiped shortly.

The Hamilton Spectator

Dog DNA

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National DNA DAY – April 25th

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 12:42 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

That’s right April 25th is National DNA Day.  It was proclaimed by both the US Senate and the House of Representative in 2003 and while you might not have the day off you might want to stop and think about just what DNA has done for us.

DNA Day is a remembrance of the day in 1953 when a gound breaking article on the structure of DNA was published as well as the the day that the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003.

DNA has made big changes in our lives whether we know it or not.  So this April take some time to think about DNA and some of it’s many uses:

1. In archeology DNA helps record genetic information of life on earth many centuries ago. This creates a data base that can be used to learn more about our planets past.

2. Genetic testing is used to determine the paternity or maternity of a child.

3. DNA testing can be used to help create a family tree or genealogical chart. Through genetic data bases one can trace lost relatives or find ancestors. Using both the Y chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA people can use DNA testing to establish ancestral lines (both remain unchanged for generations).

4. Prenatal genetic tests can help doctors determine whether or not the unborn fetus will have certain health problems.

5. DNA tests are also used to help solve murders and other crimes. In recent years many unsolved mysteries have been solved due to new ways of analysis as well as clearing many people found guilty of crimes that the did not commit.

6. DNA testing finds great use in the health field as DNA sometimes is the cause of rare medical conditions or heritable diseases.

7. Genetic testing is used in healths checks. For example it can be used to help determine the presence of viruses or cells that have mutated (causing cancer).

8. DNA tests are often used to reunite lost siblings or families or identify remains of the unknown. The genetics of a person leaves an indelible mark and this is used by police, military and authorities as well as individuals to confirm relationships.

9. DNA tests on new species or on material from outer space help scientists and researchers determine the origins of a species and where they stand with reference to known living forms.

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Proving the Death of Osama Bin Laden Through DNA Testing

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 12:31 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When President Obama announced Sunday evening, May 1st,  that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in a United States military operation, many wanted physical proof that the person killed and taken into custody was in fact Mr. Osama Bin Laden.

At this time reports are confirming 3 ways the remains were identified: 1) Facial recognition software was used to match the remains with facial photos of Osama Bin Laden. 2) There was apparently a personal identification of the body by someone inside the complex (exactly who identified the remains is unclear).  3) DNA testing of the remains took place within hours of death.

DNA Testing is now fast and accurate. It no longer takes weeks but can be done in the matter of hours and has a 99.9% or better accuracy rate.  At least one question remains – who, how or what did they test to confirm that it was Osama Bin Laden?  Did they test a family member against his DNA? There is speculation that they could they have tested the purported Osama Bin Laden sample against DNA from his sister, which (according to reports) had been held at Massachusetts General Hospital after her death in Boston last year. Or did they somehow already have Osama Bin Laden’s DNA on file and test against that?

According to Dr. M. Al Salih, who works at DNA Reference Laboratory in San Antonio, TX, he is sure that the results are accurate.  “You can come up with a very solid and absolute certainty that that is him and nobody else. If you identify that individual through those markers, and you can compare and you can say, ‘They match,’ or ‘They don’t match.’” Salih went on to state that the technology is very precise and results are 99.9 percent accurate.

However, on the other side is Dr. Greg Hampikian, a biology professor at Boise State University, says if they can get DNA from one of his kids and their mother then they do a reverse paternity test to confirm his identity and he suspects that is the type of DNA testing that was done. However even with a 99.9 percent identification Hampikian says that this case is not closed. As a scientist, Hampikian says 99.9 percent does not equal a positive identification.

As is the case with most major events such as this, skeptics speculate that we have not received enough proof and conspiracy abounds. One thing is for certain, we love conspiracies and we will never really know the truth.

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Lab Focusing on Pacific Island Genetics

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:17 PM
Monday, July 30, 2012

In 2009 a new laboratory was opened at the University of Otago it was expected to unlock secrets about the genetic heritage of Pacific people, animals and plants according to scientists and anthropologists.

The ancient DNA laboratory, allows scientists to extract DNA from bones, teeth and plant matter. The DNA will be analyzed using the latest technology, including the university’s $1 million gene sequencing machine which was purchased in 2008. The facility is a joint project between 3 departments.

Ancient DNA did not necessarily mean from antiquity, according to Professor Matisoo-Smith. In scientific terms, ancient means any DNA samples which were not taken from living subjects. Matisoo-Smith did go on to say that some of the samples the laboratory would handle would be thousands of years old.

Already, projects were planned with samples from many parts of New Zealand, several Pacific islands and from Chile.

Representatives of Maori iwi whose ancestors’ DNA will be analysed in the laboratory spoke of their initial reluctance to allow their ancestors’ remains to be analysed because of the intrusiveness of the process.  They did however agree to allow the DNA analysis after discussions with Prof Matisoo-Smith and her staff which allayed their fears.  Both sides are now hoping the laboratory would provide interesting information on how their ancestors lived, what they ate and what they looked like.

Respecting the remains of people from the past was paramount, said Prof Matisoo-Smith. An ultra-clean environment had to be preserved to ensure ancient DNA samples were not contaminated.

In just a year after opening, an international team of researchers, which includes University of Otago archaeologists Chris Jacomb and Richard Walter, successfully isolated ancient DNA from eggshells of extinct birds.

Previous attempts to recover DNA from fossil eggshell have been unsuccessful. Chris Jacomb said, “this new ability to isolate ancient DNA from moa eggshell opens up exciting new research possibilities not just for palaeobiologists, but also for archaeologists. Indeed, it was this potential to address important questions in New Zealand archaeology that drew Associate Professor Walter and me into this international collaboration.”

Using the DNA from the moa’s provides a powerful new tool in understanding how the demise of moa occurred. “Not only can we now match eggshell to particular moa species, we can develop detailed models of hunting practice by looking at the family relationships of individual birds. This will help us understand hunting and extinction processes.”

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DNA Tests Could Solve Mystery Death of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 1:50 PM
Monday, July 30, 2012

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio Baroque master’s death is surrounded in mystery, but that mystery may soon be solved thanks to DNA testing — as long as the right body can be found.

The caused of death for this famous painter in 1610 and the whereabouts of his corpse have always been unclear.  But a team of Italian anthropologists believe that what is left of Caravaggio’s body may be hidden among dozens of bodies buried in a crypt in Tuscany, thanks to recent historical clues.

The team using CAT scans and kits for carbon dating plan to study what they believe are the painter’s exhumed remains to discover how he died.  “If we are lucky enough to find Caravaggio’s skull, we will also be able to do a reconstruction of his face, just as we did in 2007 for Dante Alighieri,” Silvano Vinceti, head of the National Committee for Cultural Heritage, told Reuters.

The only images of the artist available until now have been self-portraits.  Scholars have put forward many theories about Caravaggio’s death. The most popular are that the painter was assassinated for religious reasons or collapsed with malaria on a deserted Tuscan beach.

However, in 2001 an Italian researcher claimed to have found the painter’s death certificate, which allegedly proved that he died in hospital.  “This historical document shows Caravaggio did not die alone on the beach but after three days in hospital, which means the body must have been buried in the San Sebastiano cemetery,” said Vinceti, referring to a Tuscan town near the city of Grosseto.

But in 1956, bodies buried at the tiny San Sebastiano graveyard were moved to a nearby town, Porto Ercole, and scholars hope that the remains of Caravaggio will be among them.

The team from the departments of Anthropology and Cultural Heritage Conservation at the universities of Ravenna and Bologna will have to examine the bones of between 30 and 40 people, selecting those that belong to young men who died at the beginning of the 17th century, to try and identify the painters remains.

“We will check the DNA extracted from the bones and teeth of possible matches against that of the painter’s male descendants,” Professor Giorgio Gruppioni, who will head the team, told Reuters.  “Sadly Caravaggio died childless,” said Gruppioni, “but his siblings had children whose relatives are still living in the northern Italian town that carries his name.”

Caravaggio, who pioneered the Baroque painting technique of contrasting light and dark known as chiaroscuro, is famed for his wild life. Legend has it that he was on his way to Rome to seek pardon for killing a man in a brawl when he died.

Based on the article by Ella Ide: DNA tests could solve mystery of Caravaggio’s death

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