Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Genotyping & Gene Expression
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

What Did Our Ancestors Look Like?

Published: Monday, January 14, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, January 14, 2013
Bookmark and Share
A new method of establishing hair and eye colour from modern forensic samples can also be used to identify details from ancient human remains.

The HIrisPlex DNA analysis system was able to reconstruct hair and eye colour from teeth up to 800 years old, including the Polish General Wladyslaw Sikorski (1881 to 1943) confirming his blue eyes and blond hair.

A team of researchers from Poland and the Netherlands, who recently developed the HIrisPlex system for forensic analysis, have now shown that this system is sufficiently robust to successfully work on older and more degraded samples from human remains such as teeth and bones. The system looks at 24 DNA polymorphisms (naturally occurring variations) which can be used to predict eye and hair colour.

Dr Wojciech Branicki, from the Institute of Forensic Research and Jagielonian University, Krakow, who led this study together with Prof Manfred Kayser, from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, explained, "This system can be used to solve historical controversies where colour photographs or other records are missing. HIrisPlex was able to confirm that General Wladyslaw Sikorski, who died in a plane crash in 1943, had the blue eyes and blond hair present in portraits painted years after his death. Some of our samples were from unknown inmates of a World War II prison. In these cases HIrisPlex helped to put physical features to the other DNA evidence."

For medieval samples, where DNA is even more degraded, this system was still able to predict eye and hair colour (for the most degraded DNA samples eye colour alone), identifying one mysterious woman buried in the crypt of the Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec near Krakow, sometime during the 12th-14th centuries, as having dark blond/brown hair and brown eyes.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

A Possible Blood Test for Alzheimer’s Disease
A new blood test can be used to discriminate between people with Alzheimer's disease and healthy controls.
Monday, July 29, 2013
Gene Signature Can Predict Who Will Survive Chemotherapy
An eight gene ‘signature’ can predict length of relapse-free survival after chemotherapy, finds new research in Biomed Central’s open access journal BMC Medicine.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Genetic Predictor of Breast Cancer Response to Chemotherapy
Gene expression 'signatures' to measure the susceptibility of tumor cells to chemotherapy.
Friday, May 11, 2012
Finding the Silent Killer – A Biomarker Test for Atherosclerosis
New research published in the journal BMC Medical Genomics has identified a set of biomarkers which can be used to test for early stage atherosclerosis.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Biomarker MIA Shows Presence of Neurofibromas
A simple blood test for the protein melanoma-inhibitory activity used to indicate the presence of neurofibromas even if they cannot be seen.
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Genotyping Errors in a Calibrated DNA Register: Implications for Identification of Individuals
Researchers have performed the first investigation of genotyping error rates in a wildlife DNA register and the first application of mixed models to examine multiple effects of different factors influencing the genotyping quality.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Identification of Valid Reference Genes for the Normalization of RT qPCR Gene Expression Data in Human Brain Tissue
This article describes how researchers from Queen’s University Belfast investigated the expression stability of 8 candidate reference genes in cerebellum and medial temporal gyrus of 6 AD, 6 PD, 6 DLB subjects, along with 5 matched controls using RT qPCR.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Periodontal Treatment Effects on Endothelial Function and Cardiovascular Disease Biomarkers in Subjects with Chronic Periodontitis: Protocol for a Randomized Clinical Trial
Periodontal disease (PD) is an infectious clinical entity characterized by the destruction of supporting tissues of the teeth as the result of a chronic inflammatory response in a susceptible host. A study in the journal Trials evaluates if periodontal treatment with scaling and root planning supplemented with chlorhexidine improves endothelial function and other biomarkers of cardiovascular disease in subjects with moderate to severe periodontitis.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Scientific News
Genes That Protect African Children From Developing Malaria Identified
Variations in DNA at a specific location on the genome that protect African children from developing severe malaria, in some cases nearly halving a child’s chance of developing the life-threatening disease, have been identified in the largest genetic association study of malaria to date.
Sniffing Out Cancer
Scientists have been exploring new ways to “smell” signs of cancer by analyzing what’s in patients’ breath.
New Test Detects All Viruses
A new test detects virtually any virus that infects people and animals, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where the technology was developed.
Scientists Create World’s Largest Catalog of Human Genomic Variation
An international team of scientists from the 1000 Genomes Project Consortium has created the world’s largest catalog of genomic differences among humans, providing researchers with powerful clues to help them establish why some people are susceptible to various diseases.
Five Genetic Regions Implicated In Cystic Fibrosis Severity
An international consortium of researchers conducted the largest-ever CF genome-wide analysis to find new therapeutic targets.
Bone Risks Linked to Genetic Variants
A large-scale genomic study uncovered novel genetic variants and led researchers to an unexpected gene that affects bone density and fracture risk.
Genetic Adaptations to Diet and Climate
Researchers found genetic variations in the Inuit of Greenland that reflect adaptations to their specific diet and climate.
Multi-Gene Test Enables Some Breast Cancer Patients to Safely Avoid Chemotherapy
A major study is providing the best evidence to date that a 21-gene test done on the tumor can identify breast cancer patients who can safely avoid chemotherapy.
Maintaining Healthy DNA Delays Menopause
An international study of nearly 70,000 women has identified more than forty regions of the human genome that are involved in governing at what age a woman goes through menopause.
Stem Cell Research Hints at Evolution of Human Brain
Researchers at UC San Francisco have succeeded in mapping the genetic signature of a unique group of stem cells in the human brain that seem to generate most of the neurons in our massive cerebral cortex.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos