Thursday, February 22, 2007
by blogger jgl
AAFS Annual Meeting (BYOS):
This was a neat one. Michael Rieders tells the story of his obsession (sort of) with Salvador Dali and how he really wanted to get his hands on Dali's DNA.
How did he do it? After many offers of materials lacking reliability ("I have his moustache!"), eventually a friend of Dali turned up with a nasogastric tube that Dali used when recovering from a house fire incident during his later years. It had some blood and goop on it and resulted in a single male profile.
Why do it? For fun, mainly. But it does open up the chance to authenticate some works of art that may have Dali's "fluids" on them. Or test his DNA for a genius gene. Cloning was mentioned.
Two camments for any of my students or amateur forensic scientists... the nasogastric tube was stored for years in paper. Good news, right... air dry, no moisture, no bacteria to degrade the DNA. Also, it was mentioned they used the Takayama test to determine there was, in fact, blood on the tube. Takayama!? Who does crystal tests these days? Why not TMB? Is there a sensitivity issue I'm not aware of, or are just dealing with show-offs?