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Re: DNA Testing of DSS--publication

In response to the question posed by David Suter about the availability of
published reports of DNA testing conducted on DSS material:

 I recommend a paper by Scott Woodward (of Brigham Young Universty) and
colleagues at Hebrew University, along with Joe Zias and Magen Broshi,
entitile "Analysis of Parchment Fragments from the Judean Desert Using DNA
Techniques" recently published (summer 1996) by Brill in  _Current Research
& Technological Developments on the Dead Sea Scrolls_, ed. by D.W. Parry
and S.D. Ricks.  The paper was delivered by Scott in Jerusalem, April 30,
1995, so it is not up to the minute as far as what has been acomplished,
but it does provide a good introduction to what had been done at that point
and what the challenges and the possibilites are.

 Ideally, and when sufficient testing has been done, it is expected that it
will not only be possible to identify the species from which a particular
piece of leather originated, but to identify connections between animals
from the same herd, and to determine if certain fragments of leather came
from the same animal.  As you can imagine, the further one progresses
towards specificity, the more difficult it becomes and the more it costs.
DNA testing holds promise, but has a long way to go!

Scott Woodward delivered another presentation this past July at a DSS
confernce here at BYU, and is making another presentation on DNA analysis
of parchment from Qumran in a Sunday afternoon session at the SBL meeting
in New Orleans.  I suggest reading the published paper mentioned above and
then attenting his presentation next month for a good idea of what has been
done and what seems likely to be accomplished in the near future.

Dana M. Pike           <dana_pike@byu.edu>
Department of Ancient Scripture
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT  84602  USA