Home > Forensics > Using DNA to Date Manuscripts

Using DNA to Date Manuscripts

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 15 Apr 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Dna Manuscripts Dating Ancient Medieval

Just when it seems that we have perhaps exhausted all of the applications of DNA, we find yet another valuable use for our knowledge. New research has found that DNA in animal skins utilised for creating parchment in ancient manuscripts might be able to tell us both where they were written as well as when it occurred.

An Evolving Procedure

It's an area that has previously been a frustrating one because the methods for dating the manuscripts and identifying where they were from were unreliable and time-consuming. Now, however, the process might be a lot easier with new research that uses DNA to provide an approximate date and location stamp on a medieval manuscript.

Analysing DNA

With recent advancements in the field of genetics, we now may be able to actually remove DNA in the skins of animals that were used to create these ancient texts. Researchers in the United States hope to make this procedure a reality. But how exactly is this done?

Dating Manuscripts

The researchers plan to begin by using a limited number of manuscripts. They aim to date the manuscripts and also to find out where they were created. In this way, they can form a baseline for the data, which will then allow them to apply this information to the many thousands of ancient manuscripts we have found today.

It's no easy task though! A single manuscript can entail as many as one hundred various animal skins. The researchers hope they can figure out the approximate time and geographic location of the manuscripts' creation.

Research Inspiration

The story of how this new technique came about is quite an interesting one. One of the researchers had previously done a lot of work in the area of medieval manuscripts. He found it to be quite a chore to deal with the usual means of utilising handwriting analysis and other methods to date the manuscripts. It was then that he began to wonder if there was DNA remaining in the skins of the manuscripts.

Testing Out Theories

Along with another researcher, he obtained an ancient manuscript to use for the experiment. By creating a little hole in the manuscript, they both found that they could date it. Ideally, they would like to now find a way to date the manuscript without damaging it in any way at all. This would mean finding a technique that leaves no marks on the manuscript.

Creating New Data

The researchers also hope that they can eventually provide more complete data on how books evolved, particularly in terms of the Middle Ages. It's actually quite an unexplored area that has been limited in terms of analysis methods. For this reason, the new research is very exciting because it provides an accurate and reliable method for dating manuscripts.

DNA Applications

It seems there is no end to the applications of DNA in furthering scientific knowledge. From dating manuscripts to using DNA in healthcare, it's a fascinating area that continues to grow and evolve as research booms in the field.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
If a criminal sneezed into a carpeted car boot, for example, and left saliva there including dna, since that would not be visible to the naked eye, how would it be picked up by investigators.Does dna, for instance, light up under uv light, or is there a similar test
sue - 6-Apr-15 @ 10:43 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • twinkle twinkle
    Re: The Importance of DNA
    The best way to describe the significance of DNA. Thanks
    21 January 2018
  • Bara
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    my brother passed away and was cremated. Is it possible to have his DNA tested using his hair off his clothes that we still have?
    21 January 2018
  • None
    Re: How was DNA Discovered?
    Sorry to read that Ray Gosling (Franklin's PhD student) has not been credited with preparing the DNA for, and then taking, photograph 51.…
    12 January 2018
  • Preston Playz
    Re: An Overview of DNA Functions
    DNA in the body also contains Nucleosides and nucleotides in Which both contains purine and pyridine that are complex compound…
    10 January 2018
  • ExploreDNA
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    Asking - Your Question:Okay I have a friend and she’s pregnant and has a child born her baby father passed away can she test her baby that’s…
    3 January 2018
  • Asking
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    Okay I have a friend and she’s pregnant and has a child born her baby father passed away can she test her baby that’s born to the pregnancy now
    2 January 2018
  • Teri
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    Mother died from cancer. Had treatments for almost year. Was cremated. Possible to still get any DNA from remains. It was 14 yrs ago Family…
    14 December 2017
  • Olas
    Re: Urine Testing for DNA Fragments
    Does dna enter the urine in the form of nucleuoproteins ? Or it enters alone I need explanation plz??
    9 December 2017
  • Lady Vee
    Re: An Overview of DNA Functions
    It's quite true that DNA was discovered by Crick and Watson based on the study I had on other sites... But I'm surprised you made…
    8 December 2017
  • Shakara
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    Hi just wondering on my birth certificate has my mum name and father but before my mum passed she told me he weren't my father so how can i…
    25 November 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ExploreDNA website. Please read our Disclaimer.