Thursday, June 22, 2006

The miracle of CSI and DNA

I heard this on the radio the other day here in Italy, but have yet to hear anything about it in the English-speaking world. Some researchers in Australia, using DNA recovery techniques, have found that Jack the Ripper was possibly a woman. The DNA extraction technique only needs one cell of DNA to re-construct the sequence. Normal police work requires at least 200 cells for a definitive match, so this technique cannot be certain, but after obtaining a saliva sample from one of the letters (the Openshaw letter) that were attributed to Jack the Ripper, they were able to determine that Jack was possibly a woman. Of the many suspects who the police were thought to be Jack the Ripper, there was one who was a woman, a Mary Pearcey. She was later hanged for killing the wife of her lover in the same way as Jack the Ripper.

So, could Jack the Ripper have been a woman? It kind of makes sense since the police were looking for a man and if you were a female prostitute in Whitechapel, London, you would be on guard against men, but not another prostitute. What other way to find victims other than being able to blend in with potential targets.

Anyway, the radio station that I was listening to decided that if Jack the Ripper was indeed a woman, who would the listeners think would be a good actress to play Jack the Ripper in a movie (alluding to the last movie about Jack the Ripper, “From Hell”). Guess who number one was? If you said Glenn Close, you just won a kewpie doll.


At 8:41 PM, Blogger SBHopton said...

It seems we're both interested in the same woman. I'm researching a book on Mary Wheeler (Pearcey) and would relish any information you might have on her I don't already have.

To learn more, please visit my blog:


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