An Illustration of the Polish Barber Aaron Kosminski, who was then one of the main suspects in the case of the “Jack the Ripper”murders, was

©edwards / Louhelainen Picture-Alliance

About 130 years ago that “Jack the Ripper” in London for fear and anxiety caused. At least five brutal murders of prostitutes are the most famous serial killer in England with the load, has been taken he never. Now British researchers want to have clarified the identity of the perpetrator by a DNA analysis. Other scholars, however, evaluate the submitted results on the basis of several points is extremely critical.

Jari Louhelainen from the John Moores University in Liverpool, and his colleague David Miller of the University of Leeds is convinced to have with her in the “Journal of Forensic Sciences” published the article the best of their knowledge after “the most advanced study ever done on the case”, submitted. The researchers used a forensic technique, which was the former investigators available: the DNA analysis.

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compared Specifically examined Louhelainen and Miller, a blood-stained shawl which was found in 1888 in the vicinity of the fourth victim, Catherine Eddowes,. For this, they took the blood stains of the garment, tiny samples, which subjected them to a comparative analysis, they focused on the mitochondrial DNA – genetic material through the maternal line of descent.

So the scientists compared the samples with the DNA of living Relatives of Eddowes’ as well as of the descendants of Aaron Kosminskis, a Polish Barber who at that time was advised as one of the main suspects targeted by the police. The results: the researchers found that the scarf actually belonged to Eddowes. On the other, they found out in their study that between the also on the scarf, but not of the victims-derived DNA and the genome of a female Relatives Kosminskis Matches.

For Miller and Louhelainen, a possible proof that Kosminski is the killer and, ultimately, “Jack the Ripper” was. As additional analyses have shown that the perpetrators as well as Kosminski had brown eyes and hair. The collected “phenotype tables information agreed with the only one we consider as reliable testimony”, the researchers.

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Other scientists working in the field of genetic research to evaluate the approach of Louhelainen and Miller, as well as their conclusions, however, are very critical. So, Adam Rutherford, a respected expert on genetics noted, via Twitter (here is the entire Thread) that the study submitted was not new and instead, in a similar Form already in 2014 in a book that was described. Also the extent to which the scarf is suitable for DNA analysis, found Rutherford in question. Although Louhelainen and Miller claimed to be very carefully considered, Rutherford feels, however, the use of the garment as “problematic”. So the scarf, thus a silk cloth, at the time, and photos documented to be gone through very many hands. As a genuine object for a DNA analysis of the shawl could not be applied.

far more destructive is the judgment of Turi King, a genetics Professor at the University of Leicester. “How could this study by the Review?”, the scientist, the investigation considers, in the absence of information on the methodology and the data obtained is simply for “not publishing” asked on Twitter. So, too, King complained that the scarf was contaminated as a result of dealing with him for a long time. Not only will the owner have a picture of him while he held him with his bare hands. Apparently the scarf had been in contact with descendants, which was used in the study for the comparison of the genetic material, writes King. This was “breathtaking”.

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in General, the researchers evaluate the use of mitochondrial DNA in a specific case as a large Problem. Although DNA could be samples of the Relatives of Catherine Eddowes, theoretically, with the blood stains, this sun however, only the fact that the victim was female and his Relatives on the maternal side, a correspondingly similar genetic material. For the former main suspect Kosminskis but that’s not the case.

This “could not have passed on his mitochondrial DNA, because he was a man,” said King, the in view of the induced vortex in the English press also to the descendants of Kosminskis. The study says that Kosminski was “Jack the Ripper”, “a bit of a reproach in view of the fact that the presented science is not proof of this”.

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In the same direction, the opinions of two scientists at the Medical University of Innsbruck. So forensic scientist Walther Parson is not criticized in an article of the “Science Magazine” that Louhelainen and Miller, their results, all the DNA sequences made public. But they could not reproduce the results and check. His Colleague Hansi-Whitensteiner, an expert in mitochondrial DNA, noted critically that the applied method of analysis could only reliably show that people or two DNA samples are not related to each other. Actually, the method enables only to Suspects can be ruled out.

in view of these uncertainties, the lack of information on results and methodology, as well as the “history” of the scarf Rutherford concludes: “The question of identity (of the “Jack the Ripper”, Anm. d. Red.), because I am convinced, will never be known.”

sources: “Journal of Forensic Sciences” / “Science Magazine” / Twitter