Amelia Earhart Spit Samples to Help Lick Mystery?
DNA to be mined from envelope seals to help identify aviator's remains.
for National Geographic News
Published February 18, 2011
Amelia Earhart's dried spit could help solve the longstanding mystery of the aviator's 1937 disappearance, according to scientists who plan to harvest her DNA from envelopes.
Using Earhart's genes, a new project aims to create a genetic profile that could be used to test recent claims that her bones have been discovered.
Right now, "anyone can go and find a turtle shell and be like 'I found Amelia Earhart's remains,'" said Justin Long of Burnaby, Canada, whose family is partially funding the DNA project. The Internet-marketing executive is the grandson of 1970s aviator Elgen Long, who with his wife wrote the 1999 book Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved.
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Post ID#18541 - replied 2/22/2011 3:11 PM
No one has claimed that Earhart's bones have been discovered and no one
has made any wild claims. TIGHAR has said only that bone fragments have
been recovered that, based on the archaeological context, may be human
and, if they are, could conceivably be Earhart's. The bone fragments and
other material that may contain human DNA are being examined at
Oklahoma University's Molecular Anthropology Laboratories. If human
mitochondrial DNA can recovered and sequenced it will be compared to a
reference sample of mitochondrial DNA provided by an Earhart relative in
the direct female line. The reference sample should be virtually
identical to Amelia's.
We welcome Mr. Long's efforts to recover Earhart DNA but without a way to be sure whether AE licked a particular envelope it would seem that any result would be open to question unless it matched the reference sample we already have.