Fur Real: Cat Hair DNA Can Convict

Cat Who’d Happily Convict You With His Fur’s DNA
Wanna guess everywhere I’ve left my DNA? Go ahead, guess.

Did you know that “international scientists,” those well-intentioned figures in the authoritative white coats, have established a database storing DNA sequences extracted from cat hair, and created a test for it called Meowplex?  Oh yes they have, and this adorable-sounding diagnostic may result in more slammer-time.  

It began with a fluffy white cat from the fluffy white north, whose name was Snowball and whose scientifically-verified fur was found inside the pocket of a Canadian man.  That man claimed not to be in the house killing Snowball's owner, but he was convicted of second-degree murder and began a scientific juggernaut. As reported by Jennifer Viegas of Discovery News (snips mine):

. . .[Robert] Grahn, a scientist in the Department of Population Health & Reproduction in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis, and his team collected DNA samples from hundreds of cats from 25 distinct worldwide populations and 26 breeds. . .the research has produced an extensive database consisting of 1,394 cat sequences that could be used by criminal investigators. . .nuclear DNA may also be found on cat hairs that still retain their root bulbs, or on skin particles that might stick to the oily fur when cats groom themselves. These natural oils, along with static electricity and the sheer volume of fur, mean that people who enter a property with a resident cat are like fur magnets. It is almost impossible to avoid having one or more cat furs cling to skin, clothing, shoes, bags and more.

I found it a little bleck, but perhaps a little sinister, too.  Or maybe it's just that I don't trust a few cats of my acquaintance not to frame me.  What about you?

Image via Muffet's flickr.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.