Zoology CSI

Zoology CSI By: Heather Farrington, Curator of Zoology Even at the dawn of the genetic age, it was known that only living (or once living) cells could be a source of DNA for study. Blood, tissues such as skin and muscle, and reproductive cells such as sperm were standard sources of genetic material. Structures such as fur, hair, feathers, shells, claws, and nails were thought to be made up only of secreted proteins, with no living cells, and therefore were of little value to geneticists unless there were still skin cells attached. If you’ve ever seen a TV crime drama, this is why hair samples are always collected by pulling rather than cutting, so that the skin cells at the base of the hair follicle (living cells containing DNA) are attached. After a cell dies, the DNA inside begins to degrade, or break down […]

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The Spanish Flu

In the midst of the 1918 influenza pandemic, Cincinnati’s Mayor made the decision to give up. There was pressure from businesses, saloons, clergy and citizens to allow them to get back to normal daily life. How did the city get to this point and what happened before and after?

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