DNA Yields Clue to Eye Color of the Long Dead
Scientists paint picture of unknown Nazi victims
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jan 14, 2013 9:27 AM CST
A new DNA test tells scientists the eye and hair colors of people who've been dead for years.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A new DNA test lets researchers in on the eye and hair colors of people who have been dead for decades—or centuries. Scientists have learned, for instance, that a woman buried among monks in a medieval tomb had brown eyes and brownish hair. They've also deduced the eye and hair colors of 12 people killed by the Nazis whose identities have never been known; their skulls were displayed in a museum as belonging to "sub-humans."

"This system can be used to solve historical controversies where color photographs or other records are missing," a scientist says. Known as HIrisPlex, the DNA test can be applied to bones and teeth. The first test was on a tooth belonging to Poland's World War II general Wladyslaw Sikorski, who died in 1943. It showed that Sikorski—of whom no color photos exist—was 99% likely to have had blue eyes and 85% likely to have had blond hair. That matches descriptions of him, AFP reports.

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Showing 3 of 20 comments
$28919642
Jan 14, 2013 9:42 AM CST
New tools.
Rob
Jan 14, 2013 9:40 AM CST
Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon studies will be interesting.
jerrymac
Jan 14, 2013 9:40 AM CST
And the real world use for the massive amount of money spent figuring this out would be...? This seems like a waste of time and money. So they figured out that the descriptions of a WWII Polish General were almost 100% accurate. Who cares? If this is an example of how (taxpayer) money is spent, no wonder our fiscal house is in such a sad state.