Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Using DNA to Date Ancient Texts

DNA of animal skins used as parchment for medieval manuscripts could reveal where the texts were made, reports Brandon Keim for the Wired Science blog. A team of two brothers, both academics, took skin samples from five pages of a 15th century French prayer book to find that the preserved mtDNA in the pages came from two closely related calves. The work is still in early stages and needs additional funding (tests run between $800 and $1000 per sample), but it’s likely a method that would take the guesswork out of pinpointing when and where manuscripts date from. And, it’s possible to create a DNA database from manuscripts of known age and origin, says the story. “When did books become a business, as opposed to something monks did? That’s a puzzle nobody knows,” says Stinson. “This could be a social history of producing a good for trade.”

The Scan

Boosters Chasing Variants

The New York Times reports that an FDA advisory panel is to weigh updated booster vaccines for COVID-19.

Not Yet

The World Health Organization says monkeypox is not yet a global emergency, the Washington Post reports.

More Proposed for Federal Research

Science reports that US House of Representatives panels are seeking to increase federal research funding.

PLOS Papers on Breast Cancer Metastasis, Left-Sided Cardiac Defects, SARS-CoV-2 Monitoring

In PLOS this week: link between breast cancer metastasis and CLIC4, sequencing analysis of left-sided cardiac defects, and more.