Even if the only evidence forensic analysts can pull from a crime scene is a fingerprint smudged beyond recognition, a new technique developed by Canadian scientists soon could harvest enough DNA from the print to produce a genetic identity. The novel system can extract DNA in only 15 minutes, even if a print has been stored for a year. [...]
"If you wanted to use blood as a source of DNA, you have fear of contamination, people who don't want to give it, storage issues, and you have to sign a lot of paperwork to get it," research scientist Maria Viaznikova of the Ottawa University Heart Institute in Canada told United Press International. "We can now have DNA reliably and simply with our method."
Viaznikova said her team's method consistently yields 10 billionths of a gram of DNA, on average, from a single fingerprint. [...] Although 10 "nanograms" might not sound like much, for DNA analysis, even 0.1 nanogram is enough, Viaznikova said. "Scientists try not to use less than 5 to 10 nanograms, so this is fine."
You know, as I'm walking down the street looking at the thousands and thousands of tar-like little black splotches that were once spat-out wads of chewing gum, I often think that maybe someday after we've obliterated ourselves, the Alien Masters will be able to clone a whole second batch of humanity just from the dessicated spit preserved in the gum on the sidewalks of the world.
I guess, for the sake of future generations, we can only hope that being the kind of slob who spits their gum on the ground is not genetically predetermined.