This story caught my attention, “New DNA Technique Led Authorities to ‘Anthrax Killer’,” and I wanted to find out what this new technique was. When I read the story, however, they didn’t say anything about what it was.
The identification was made from those samples, with DNA samples taken from the victims to confirm.
A government scientist told the Associated Press Sunday that investigators started with DNA from some of those victims and matched specific DNA patterns to anthrax cultures that the suspect, Army scientist Bruce Ivins, 62, was responsible for in the lab.
This scientific technique took years to develop.
That sounds like standard run-of-the mill PCR to me. Take some unique sequences in the anthrax samples that can be used to differentiate it from all other samples, then create PCR primers to make copies of, and sequence those sequences in each sample. The victims, anthrax from letters, and the suspected anthrax lab. If the sequences match, you have a winner. (or loser) I could do it.
So I don’t see what is so new about this mystery DNA technique… must’ve been new to Fox News or something.
Still, it is nice to know that we know the source of those anthrax letters, although the suspect committed suicide, this means that if it ever happens again, we can always call on this secret technique involving this “DNA’ thing!