Scientists developed a method that allows to determine the color of eyes and hair of people on samples of DNA extracted from the remains of their skeletons. This method was first tested on the skeleton of the Polish nun who died more than 800 years ago.
The results of this experiment, which was conducted by experts from the Netherlands, together with their Polish colleagues, will be printed on the pages of the "Investigative Genetics". The leader of the group that conducted the research, is Manfred Kayser of the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Scientists were able to prove that the system HIrisiPlex used for DNA analysis and was developed by Professor Kaiser for use in the field of forensic medicine, can also bring many benefits and historians. The effect of this system is based on the analysis of 24 genetic markers that are associated with hair color and eyes. In the research it became clear that this technique can work with "old" DNA that was extracted from the bones and teeth of people who died long ago.
According to one of the participants in the research works of Wojciech Braneckeho, HIrisiPlex can be very useful to resolve historical disputes, when the hand was no other evidence not. For example, scientists have proved that General Sikorski, who died in a plane crash in 1943, was a blond with blue eyes that confirmed the portraits painted during his lifetime.
This technique was also tested on more ancient remains. Scientists were able to establish the appearance of one of the nuns, who lived in the middle ages the Abbey town of Tyniec that in the vicinity of the Polish city of Krakow. From its remains, the age of which amounted to 7-9 centuries, genetics has created a description of this woman, according to which she was brown-eyed brunette.