Grad students extract DNA from 800 year old mummy

by Sean Phillips
WVIT News

A team of graduate students may have discovered a breakthrough in DNA science.

Students studying forensic science at the University of New Haven received a batch of human remains from an 800 year old mummy found in the Gobi desert.

The students were given the task of trying to extract DNA from the mummy's bones and muscle tissue.

Through an intricate process of dehydrating the bones the graduate students were able to take DNA samples from the mummy and determine how it died.

Typically bones and tissue samples from cold cases are kept frozen.

"If you bake and dehydrate bones, you might be able to get more DNA, because it's better preserved in those samples. So we've actually tried that on a couple of cold cases here," explained assistant Professor Dr. Heather Coyle.

The graduate students believe the process of heating up human remains will help murder investigators solve cold cases.