As often happens, a bright idea comes from a sound failure. In this case, the inability to extract Dna from the bones of exhibits animals found by a group of archaeologists from the british during the excavations of an ancient camp viking. Although the site she produced thousands of artifacts, bone, and the researchers had shredded a good part, only seven bones aveavno product a little bit of Dna. "Too little to be significant from the statistical point of view," he lamented Collins, who teaches at York University in Toronto, Canada. From them, however, to shift his attention to the scrolls and books medieovali the step was short. Considering that they are written on skins of cow, sheep, deer, goat, or deer, these documents represent thousands of herds of animals, all of which are ready to be analyzed on the shelves of the libraries. To study the genetic strains of animals, then, did not even go to dig in the field. The reasoning was not and is not a fold. Except that in addition to the Dna of the annimali, from the crumbs of patina secular obtained by rubbing the pages of the documents with an eraser, researchers have also taken the Dna of all those who have worked on, touched, kissed, cried, and everything else on the documents a thousand years old.
It is emerging a fresco bio-artistic-literary of surprising proportions. There are intertwined factors that previously seemed unrelated, such as the Dna of all species and the virus that has suffered from techniques and the scribes, and the migrations of the herds and of the human beings, the tragedies, famine, and pestilence with the technical library and these with the literature, opening a horizon organic, the study of the history, arts and literature. Collins now is analyzing the Gospels of York (The York Gospels), a sacred book of the Church of England produced more than one thousand years ago and still today, the Archbishops of York used to make an oath of allegiance to the Anglican church. The oath provides that the bishops should kiss the pages delivering a result also of a Dna fragment to the collection of genetic data, pre-existing becoming well as their collaborators in the writing of a second story hidden behind the one written by the amanuensis.
"it is a discovery that opens the doors of the world of monks, knights, writers, poets, maids, and merchants who lived in Europe during the Middle Ages and which have touched the documents," said Timothy Stinson , a scholar of medieval poetry at the University of North Carolina. One of the discoveries related to the Gospels of York is that of the potential death of the deer that must have plagued Britain around the year milledue, and that was resolved only with the import of another species of deer from the European continent by the norman invaders.
Of the approximately 5000 manuscripts and parchments investigated up to now by the team of Collins and other researchers, there has emerged an abundance of clues to allow addirrittura to establish viral infections, of those who drew, and is derived from the age of the manuscript, the year of the infection, thus giving also an idea of the evolution of bacteria such as the Staphylococcus aureus and Propionibacterium. The first dwells mostly in the nose and involved in the great majority of infections of the respiratory tract, and the second characterizes eruptions of acne. The same thing is happening for the understanding of the changes in the ethnicity of the people who have used the various documents in the course of time.
Also the Dna of the worms that have corrupted the pages served to amplaire the level of knowledge of the knowledge of the researchers. In the case of the Gospels of Luke, for example, is used to establish that the book was produced in Northern Europe than in southern Europe, as was originally thought. Dna analysis has in fact revealed that it was worms Anobium punctatum, a species of beetle carattteristica of Great Britain and the scandinavian countries. "The Dna of the worms provides us with clues regarding the date and the place of origin of the manuscripts and where and how they were transported," explained Stephen Blair Hedges , a biologist of evolution of Temple University in Philadelphia and a member of the team of Collins.
But although he was the first to conduct this type of analysis on a large scale, Collins is not the first researcher to extract Dna from the scrolls. Before him was Stintson, then a professor of English at North Carolina State University. In 2009 he published an article on the topic. And although he was able to demonstrate with the help of his brother, the biologist that the thing was feasible, Stinson was not able to obtain funding to move from theory to practice. Unfortunately, the interdisciplinary character of his research was a brake. Stintson had to wait for that Collins would receive a substantial funding from the European Union to re-join the race with his group and on the objectives far more ambitious, such as, for example, to collect the Dna of scientists such as Isaac Newton , who during his life had produced a substantial collection of notebooks of notes. All by study
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