2008-05-22 links

Sequencing technology: An innnovative approach could target hard-to-sequence areas
ZS Genetics is a relative newcomer to the field and uses an approach vastly different than any other: electron microscopy. Glover predicts that by next year, the company's technology will be able to generate readable lengths of DNA that are thousands of base pairs long, and he believes that ZS Genetics' sequencing method will improve by a factor of 10 in the next couple of years, making the pieces even easier to assemble. The company was recently accepted as one of the teams in the Archon X Prize for Genomics, a $10 million award for the first privately funded team that can sequence 100 human genomes in 10 days.

Genealogy: Ancestry.com makes military collection freely available May 20 through May 31; LDS's FamilySearch Record Search pilot site is now available without registering (1900 Census, etc.)

1924 Virginia Racial Integrity Act: Pointing and sputtering

Genetic Future: 23andMe, deCODEme and Navigenics at Cold Spring Harbor

Vestigial organs: Five things humans no longer need

Executive Function: Almost Perfectly Heritable

Schiller: Skull not his
Schiller's remains had been interred in a mausoleum in Weimar's Jacobs cemetery that the state kept for distinguished citizens. But the remains were mixed with others, and when a total of 23 skulls were found, the city's mayor, Carl Leberecht Schwabe — a Schiller fan — declared that the biggest must have been that of the philosophic writer.

A skeleton believed to match the skull was then put together with it, and both were buried in 1827 in the city's Fuerstengruft cemetery. Germany's most revered writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — who was Schiller's friend — was buried in a crypt alongside him in 1832 and today the site is visited by some 60,000 people per year.

But in 1911, Schiller researcher August von Froriep unearthed another skull that he said was that of the writer, and later claims emerged about still another skull.

According to the DNA results, however, none of the skulls were matches, MDR reported. The researchers used comparison samples taken from the remains of two of Schiller's sisters and two of his sons.

The results showed that the original Schiller skull belonged to an unidentified person, and that the "matching" skeleton was actually the bones of several other unidentified people, MDR reported.

The other two skulls also did not match, raising a new question: Where's Schiller?

Seemann said he thinks that the remains must still be in the original Jacobs cemetery — but added that his organization would not be taking part in any new search for them.

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