Thursday, 8 September 2016

Could a lock of hair unlock your genealogy puzzle?

An article published in PLOS ONE, Demonstration of Protein-Based Human Identification Using the Hair Shaft Proteome holds out hope that a lock of your ancestors hair might just resolve family mysteries. People have been disappointed when told a hair needs to have a follicle to be useful for DNA analysis. The article, in the authors words, "demonstrates that quantifiable measures of identity discrimination and biogeographic background can be obtained from detecting genetically variant peptides in hair shaft protein, including hair from bioarchaeological contexts." The method was applied to samples up to 260 years old.

The technique is very much in development so don't look for AncestryPeptide anyime soon, if ever.

The article is open access at

No comments: