Kitties Fight Crime With DNA

Ubiquitous cat hair a valuable forensic tool
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2010 4:50 PM CDT
In this Jan. 20, 2010 file photo, an abandoned cat sits at the animal home Winkel in Kloten in the canton of Zurich, Switzerland.   (AP Photo/Keystone/Gaetan Bally, File)
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(Newser) – Dog is man's best friend, but cats can fight crime. Thanks to their tendency to groom and shed, household cats carpet a home—and anyone who sets foot in it—with DNA evidence. Kitty forensics have already led to one murder conviction after hair from a victim's cat was found on the killer's jacket. "Cat fur obtained from a crime scene has the potential to link perpetrators, accomplices, witnesses and victims," says an expert.

Cats are ideal assistant investigators because their fur is a ready source of short tandem repeat and mitochondrial DNA. Scientists have established a feline DNA database that maps out the location of unique markers that make forensic analysis possible, Discover reports. And don't worry, dog lovers: Adding canine DNA to the database is under consideration.

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