Thursday, February 22, 2007

DNA Testing May Confirm Copernicus Remains

I'm not sure how I feel about this article given the sources and the fact that they didn't even get the publishing date of De Revolutionibus right (it's 1543, not 1530) but I thought it was bizarre enough that I needed to pass it along anyway.

Polish scientists are planning DNA tests in an attempt to confirm that remains found at Frombork Cathedral in 2005 are those of scientist Nicolaus Copernicus; to create the profile, they'll be using bloodstains from manuscripts stolen from Copernicus' library by Swedish invaders in 1656-60. Blood droplets found on some of the manuscripts, scientists say, may be from Copernicus' fingers, "possibly from cuts ... caused by his writing quill."

Geneticist Maria Allen, in charge of the DNA team, told Poland's Dziennik newspaper "I hope the stains on the document turn out to be the blood of Nicolas Copernicus - then the entire puzzle will be pieced together and we will be able to confirm whether the bones found in Frombork belonged to this illustrious scientist."

We'll see, I guess - seems to me that creating a DNA profile from those blood drops (assuming they're even from Copernicus) would be a fairly dicey proposition.

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