Jack the Ripper is one of history's most infamous serial killers. He killed and mutilated at least five women in the Whitechapel area of London in 1888. He was never caught, though criminal investigators and historians have long considered several suspects, including Prince Albert Victor, a member of Britain's royal family.
Now investigators who are publishing a book on their findings assert that they know precisely who committed those murders: Aaron Kosminski, a Polish immigrant. They used DNA evidence to make this conclusion by matching semen left on a victim's bloody shawl with a living descendent of Kosminski's sister.
The author of Naming Jack the Ripper, Russell Edwards, is an amateur investigator. But his partner, Dr. Jari Louhelainen, is a a molecular biologist and professor at Liverpool John Moores University. Louhelainen writes in the Daily Mail:
Dr David Miller found epithelial cells – which line cavities and organs – much to our surprise, as we were not expecting to find anything usable after 126 years.
Then I used a new process called whole genome amplification to copy the DNA 500 million-fold and allow it to be profiled.
Once I had the profile, I could compare it to that of the female descendant of Kosminski’s sister, who had given us a sample of her DNA swabbed from inside her mouth.
The first strand of DNA showed a 99.2 per cent match, as the analysis instrument could not determine the sequence of the missing 0.8 per cent fragment of DNA. On testing the second strand, we achieved a perfect 100 per cent match.
Because of the genome amplification technique, I was also able to ascertain the ethnic and geographical background of the DNA I extracted. It was of a type known as the haplogroup T1a1, common in people of Russian Jewish ethnicity. I was even able to establish that he had dark hair.
Now that it’s over, I’m excited and proud of what we’ve achieved, and satisfied that we have established, as far as we possibly can, that Aaron Kosminski is the culprit.
-via Ace of Spades HQ
UPDATE 10/20/14: Dr. Jari Louhelainen may have made a serious error in his study.