So much for splitting hairs...good article and very informative...BD
Historically, hair has had a magical and almost cultic importance in human history and was, for instance, believed to be a source of power. Now hair is also the source of answers to a number of questions. The new DNA-method will give us more precise information about why the mammoth died out, or what the ingredients are in the cocktail of human races that are mixed in Europe and elsewhere. And in the future, it may be an improved tool for the police and in forensics to solve crimes. "So far you would have to drill in old bones if you wanted to compare the genetic imprint of mammoths to that of elephants, or if you wanted to see how they coped during the ice-age before they died out. Usually, the problem is that the remaining DNA samples have been scarce, and that they have been "polluted" by bacteria. But DNA from hair is very clean because it has been encapsulated in keratin, a kind of plastic membrane that protects the hair and the DNA. Think about all the extinct furred animals that are displayed on museums around the world. There is a lot of work waiting for us" says Thomas Gilbert.
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