Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Help For Bald Mummies?

Hair color of unknown offenders is no longer a secret

means that hair and eye color can now be predicted from DNA.

"Prof. Manfred Kayser, Chair of the Department of Forensic Molecular Biology at Erasmus MC, who led the study, said, "That we are now making it possible to predict different hair colors from DNA represents a major breakthrough because, so far, only red hair color, which is rare, could be estimated from DNA. For our research we made use of the DNA and hair color information of hundreds of Europeans and investigated genes previously known to influence the differences in hair color. We identified 13 'DNA markers' from 11 genes that are informative to predict a person's hair color."

This would work with non-European populations, as well. As for King Tut and family, they carry a European haplogroup, anyway, it is thought, so their characteristics could be predicted under the above guidelines.