Baked DNA

Forensic scientists led by University of New Haven’s Dr. Heather Coyle have discovered a new way to extract DNA from ancient bones, using heat instead of freezing:

Standard DNA procedure for bones is to freeze them. When Coyle and her team re-examined the mummy remains they realized the Gobi desert created a natural bone baking process. “It makes the bone more brittle so it makes it easier to grind and break open more cells, so we think we are accessing more DNA to begin with,” Dr. Coyle said.

mummy

This technological innovation might have a huge impact on DNA extraction, particularly from older bones, where it is extremely difficult to get usable DNA. For her part, Dr. Coyle hopes the new technique can be used to solve cold cases.