Daily Archives: November 17, 2016

European diseases left their mark on First Nations’ DNA

tsimshian-peopleEpidemics from Europe that killed thousands of indigenous Canadians in the nineteenth century have left their signatures in the genomes of the people living there today, researchers say.
The Tsimshian people, who live in coastal British Columbia and Alaska and are among Canada’s First Nations, suffered a severe population crash around the nineteenth century, as European colonizers brought diseases including smallpox to communities that had not acquired resistance.

Hair Analysis Could Become An Important Alternative To Dna Testing

DNA hair analysisYet hair can be incredibly useful. “Hair is always left behind, so it’s an abundant source of material for identifying people,” says Daniel Fairbanks, a hair expert at Utah Valley University and also one of the paper’s co-authors.
Additional validation needs to be done before the new method makes its way into working forensic labs and courtrooms. Researchers need to test with more people and include more ethnic groups in the study population. The amount of hair required (currently a thimbleful) needs to be reduced to a single strand. And rigorous testing of the chosen protein markers needs to be done to make sure they’re reliable. hair can be incredibly useful. “Hair is always left behind, so it’s an abundant source of material for identifying people,” says Daniel Fairbanks, a hair expert at Utah Valley University and also one of the paper’s co-authors.