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DNA Testing – The Mystery of Amelia Earhart


Can DNA testing help to solve the riddle of Amelia Earhart?

Seventy years ago the most glamorous woman in aviation disappeared whilst attempting her solo flight across the Atlantic. Now, an expedition is underway to dig out her remains and with the help of DNA tests will be able to solve the mystery of her disappearance.

DNA Testing to Unlock Mystery

The expedition to recover Amelia Earhart’s remains for DNA testing is being undertaken by the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR). This group is the leading aviation archaeological foundation in the world. Their aim is to locate, save and preserve these rare and historic aircraft. The expedition left from Los Angeles on July 12 to begin their journey to the island of Nikumaroro. Here the team had already begun to excavate the a site in 2001 on the island, and their aim is to establish whether remains on the site known as the ‘castaway’s campsite’ can be taken away for DNA testing.

Missing Above The Atlantic

The fact that Earhart went missing on her flight across the Atlantic means she could have been lost to the ocean. If this is the case, obtaining remains for DNA testing is a lost cause. But the team believe that it is a strong possibility that Earhart landed and died on  the island of Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati. The island, previously known as Gardner Island, is on the navigational line that Earhart said she had been following in her very last radio transmission. Distress calls were sent from the missing plane for three nights after she had disappeared, which suggests that the plane had indeed landed.

DNA Testing – An Exciting Opportunity

Although signs of ‘recent habitation’ were reported by an airplane that was flying over Gardner Island a week after her disappearance, the island was never searched – even though it had not been inhabited since 1892. If Earhart and her navigator did end up living on the deserted island, DNA testing on the remains would offer a very exciting opportunity to unravel the mystery of her disappearance.

DNA Tests Could Solve Riddle

To add to this evidence that Earhart’s remains may be able to be located for DNA testing, a British Colonial Service officer found female skeletal remains in 1940 at a makeshift campsite on the island. TIGHAR have also unearthed artefacts from this campsite, including what seems to be some debris from an aircraft.

DNA testing could solve the riddle once and for all if remains of the skeleton are unearthed. The DNA testing would work by taking some DNA from her living relatives to see if the samples did match.

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