Melting DNA allows police to identify twins

Shane McGlaun - Apr 27, 2015, 7:10 am CDT
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Melting DNA allows police to identify twins

Police have been using DNA evidence for a long time now to identify perpetrators of crimes and put them behind bars. There are challenges when it comes to identifying which person from a pair of twins committed a crime. The reason for the difficulty is that the DNA of twins is very nearly identical.

Previously if the police needed to conclusively identify one twin as committing a crime, they faced months of DNA sequencing to get a concrete identification. That may change in the future with researchers in England developing a new method that involves melting DNA to find differences between two samples.

The researchers found that heating genes causes the hydrogen bonds that formed due to the person’s environment and habits to break. The team says that unless the twins have highly similar lives, the hydrogen bonds will break at different temperature points.

The temperature where the hydrogen bonds break will identify which of the twins committed a crime. One potential catch is that the test currently requires a large DNA sample. That means in a crime where only small bits of DNA was left behind the new procedure wouldn’t work.

SOURCE: Engadget


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