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Re: orion Orion DNA tests

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Dear Jim--

the Kuvin Center of the Hebrew University have been running DNA studies of
the mss for the last year or so. Their blurb in the catalogue of the summer
summit meeting reads:

DNA Analysis of the Judean Scrolls

(authors: Gila Kahila Bar-Gal, P. Smith, E. Tchernov, S. Woodward and C.

"Development of improved molecular techniques over the last few decades
have made it possible to open up new areas of research in archaeology and
history. One application of these techniques is being used to help resolve
a number of questions concerning the Dead Sea Scroll parchments.
Through amplification of different areas of DNA (using the polymerase chain
reaction or PCR) from organic matter, sequence information can be used to
look at the identiry of the individual or species of the source of the
material understudy. Two genetic regions used in our research were: the
cytochrome b gene, which varies little between individuals but can be used
to resolve species differences; and the D-loop region, used to rssolve
individual differences in populations and herds.
DNA analysis was carried out to identify the animal species that were used
to produce the Dead Sea Scroll parchments. As base line material the
mitochondrial DNA of ruminants, both primitive and modern, were determined.
By comparing these to Temple Scroll material we were able to identify the
animal source of the parchments as goats. Secondly using variaton between
the DNA extracted from differnet fragments we verified tentative joins on
the Temple Scroll and hope to reveal some new joins using other fragments
in the future.
As well as aiding in the study of the literal significance of the scrolls,
extraction from the parchments provides archaeozoologists with an
unprecedented collection of animal skins from a past ruminant population.
If a DNA can be obtained from a representative number of the scrolls, then
the population of animals that were used to make the parchment can be
identified. With further comparisons using contemporaneous bone material
from Qumran it is envisaged that it will be possible to study the parchemnt
industry and trade. This will also assist in answering the question
concerning whether Qumran was the center of parchment production."

best wishes,

Fred Cryer