Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

The Search for Amelia

The mystery of Amelia Earhart's disappearance may be on the verge of finally being solved, if researchers can find and collect some of her DNA from envelopes she may have licked, says Discoblog's Patrick Morgan. When Earhart disappeared in 1937 with her navigator, Fred Noonan, speculation ran rampant about whether they had crashed into the sea or on some deserted island. But two years ago, researchers found some bone fragments on Nikumaroro Island that could be Earhart's finger, Morgan says. Now all they need is some of her DNA. Researchers at Simon Fraser University in Canada hope to collect mitochondrial and nuclear DNA from letters Earhart sent her family to compare to the DNA from the bone found on the island. The researchers are looking to the letters as their last possible source of Earhart's genetic material. No one has any of her hair, and her clothes were all dry-cleaned long ago, Morgan says. Now the problem is whether there's enough DNA left in the letters to make up a unique genetic profile. The researchers plan to compare the DNA they collect from the letters to DNA on a letter written by Earhart's sister, and DNA from her surviving relatives, he adds.

This isn't the first time science has had a hand in solving the mysteries of history. For more details on Earhart and other hisorical conundrums, check out this Daily Scan post from December.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.