Thursday, August 15, 2013

BREAKING: University Reports Cat DNA Helps Solve Crime

And you thought feline crime-fighters were the stuff of mystery novels, didn't you?
Move over Lillian Jackson Braun, the UK has one-upped you.

photo courtesy Cayambe via Creative Commons 3.0
On Wednesday, the University of Leicester reported that a feline DNA database they created helped convict a murderer.

Dr. Jon Wetton, of the university's Department of Genetics, was approached by the Hampshire Police when they found cat fur at the scene of the crime.

We assume the victim did not have a cat, and so those investigating thought a DNA trace might assist in tying their suspect to the scene of the crime.

After gathering mitochondrial DNA samples from 152 British moggies (both Shorthair and other varieties), the department was able to confirm with a 98% degree of certainty that the fur sample from the suspect's pet cat was a match to the fur found at the scene of the crime*.

This evidence formed an important part of the case the prosecution used to successfully convict David Hilder of manslaughter last week.

*Only 3 out of 152 cat fur samples matched the mitochondrial DNA of the suspect's cat.


University of Leicester's news & events page, August 14


  1. Very cool. Though 3/152 is still a little high, isn't it?

  2. Well, 3 of 152 is only 1.97%.

    We're assuming that the prosecutors felt this was such a statistically small number that they could state with some degree of confidence "yes, this fur was from the perp's cat."

    At least that's how we read it!

    Then there is the difference between the concepts of scientific measurement/data/degree of uncertainty and what the court cares about to consider, too! MOL!

  3. Wow, that is pretty amazing! I hope the kitty found a new home, though! 'Cause I am assuming the perp had to serve time.

  4. That is SOOO cool!!!
    I'm sensing a whole new TV series!
    : )

  5. Most interesting! Presumably this could give our humans the idea that they could DNA test our yakked up grass so that blame could be fairly attributed. Pöh. In a multi-cat community, sometimes it is nice to be anonymous.
    We loved your comment on our bloggie and Äiti says she couldn't resist this: she would be uncertain about Heisenberg; Faraday would need a cage and Maxwell would be a little demon. Shall we whap her one for being too obvious ?

  6. We read the story and just thought how brilliant. Well done Watson sorry Wetton. Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Molly

  7. That's very interesting indeed. Yay for the cat!

  8. We missed that in the papers but how cool. Have a funtastix weekend xx00xx

    Mollie and Alfie

  9. That is truly amazing. Who brings their cat to a murder…someone not too bright! Glad kitty caught the killer and hope kitty finds a better home. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Misty may, Mauricio, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo


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