Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

An article in USA Today reports that new mitochondrial DNA testing techniques may help to identify the murderer of a number of Mob figures buried in swamps around the New York City metropolitan area.

Mitochondria, the organelles in animal cells responsible for respiration, carry their own DNA. The discovery of mitochondrial DNA was one of the triggers for the Endosymbiosis Hypothesis of cell evolution, which holds that eukaryotic cells, which have differentiated internal parts, evolved from an alliance of prokaryotes (such as bacteria), early in the history of life on earth.

Here’s the funny part: because mitochondria are inherited through the maternal line, m-DNA analysis is particularly good at identifying blood relatives. (Strike one for Cosa Nostra.) Also, mitochondria appear to be closely related to blue-green algae, which brings us back to the swamps mentioned earlier. (Oh, the irony!)

Who says evolution doesn’t have a sense of humor?

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me
×

A Place of Inspiration

Understand the technologies that are changing business and driving the new global economy.

September 23-25, 2014
Register »