February 14, 2013
Bigfoot Is Real, And We Have DNA To Prove It: Researchers
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
We thought the first evidence would emerge from some backyard video footage, or a smartphone photo, but the real proof of the existence of Bigfoot actually lies in the DNA.
A team of scientists has published the results of a five-year study of DNA samples from Sasquatch in the journal DeNovo Journal of Science.
Researchers claim they have sequenced three whole Bigfoot nuclear genomes, helping to prove that the legendary creature exists in North America, and is a human relative that arose 13,000 years ago.
The scientists hypothesize that the Bigfoot creature is a hybrid cross of modern Homo sapiens, with a novel primate species, giving it the species name Homo sapiens cognatus.
Dr. Melba S. Ketchum of DNA Diagnostics, and colleagues, analyzed 111 specimens during the study that were purported to be Sasquatch hair, blood, skin, and other tissue types. Individuals at 34 different hominin research sites in 14 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces submitted samples for the study.
The researchers sequenced 20 whole, and 10 partial mitochondrial genomes, as well as 3 whole nuclear genomes. Mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA, comes from mitochondria and is passed down on maternal lineage across generations. Nuclear DNA (nuDNA) is the genetic information contained in the cell nucleus, and is the equal combination of DNA from parents of an individual.
Ketchum told redOrbit that the findings definitively prove the existence of a surviving hominin in North America.
"Clearly non-human hair (morphologically), washed thoroughly as is accepted procedure in forensic science to remove contaminates by two laboratories with two techniques, yielded human mitochondrial DNA sequence in all 111 samples in the study," she said. "Thirty samples were taken past the screening to yield human mitochondrial haplotypes with twenty of those being entire mitochondrial genomes 16,500 bases long. Since species identification depends on the mitochondrial DNA in forensics, this clearly placed the samples in the family Homo, ie hominin. Screening by sequencing with universal primers would have also shown contamination if it had been there."
She also said that preliminary testing was repeatable within the three whole genomes that were sequenced.
"The mitochondrial DNA sequences taken from the three whole genomes were the same haplotypes as the original sequencing above, however the nuclear DNA was novel," she told redOrbit in an email. "A super contig of over 2.7 million bases of nuclear DNA was assembled from 2 of the genomes with a shorter contig for the third genome that aligned with human reference sequence hg19 on chromosome 11."
Ketchum added that BLAST trees were then generated, showing that the contigs aligned with one another, and proved that the genomes were the same novel species.
The team is planning on continuing the research, according to Ketchum, because it takes years to analyze a genome, "so we are continuing to work with the three genomes." She added that they are planning to expand into "non-invasive field studies."
When asked by redOrbit what the biggest surprise experienced during her team's study was, Ketchum answered: "That they existed."
She said they were surprised that the mtDNA was human from non-human physical samples, and that the nuDNA was as novel as it was when they aligned it against hg19. Also, the genomes helped prove they were from the same novel species.
While past redOrbit articles may have looked to viral footage, mostly proven to be hoaxes, as evidence of Bigfoot's existence, science provides a whole new realm of persuasion for the non-believers with the latest DNA evidence.