We Can Now Extract Prey's DNA From Spider Webs, Solving Spider-Crime Forever

We Can Now Extract Prey's DNA From Spider Webs, Solving Spider-Crime Forever

In order to unobtrusively study the behavior and diet of spiders, researchers can now extract both predator and prey DNA from webs.

It's an all-too-common, horrifying sight. A crime scene and weapon all in one; the victim bound up in silk, its innards liquefied and emptied. The murderer? Long-gone, of course, with no recourse whatsoever for the victim's ten million next-of-kin.

Until now. Finally, forensic science has advanced to the point where we can solve these horrific murders, by identifying not only the vile perpetrator's DNA in the weapon, but any past victims' genetic data, as well.

We can all breathe a little easier. Spider crime is over.

In a study published in PLOS ONE, researchers declare they have successfully extracted mitochondrial DNA from spider silk, identifying both predator and prey genes.

Their experiments involved black widow spiders, whose crimes of passion are notoriously brutal. Crickets were fed to these vicious femme fatales; later, the webs spun by the spiders were collected and examined. Lo and behold - both cricket and black widow DNA was identifiable.

While the most obvious use for this technique is to solve insect murder, the Six-legged Victims Unit has other functions in mind. Gaining dietary information from discarded webs is a very unobtrusive way of examining what is going on in spider populations - a little bit nicer than, say, cutting the spider open to check out its last meal.

This all reminds me of Patrick Stewart's efforts earlier this year to fund a different way of collecting data on whales. Now, if only we could find a way of using Snotbot to solve crimes...

Source: Dispatch Tribunal

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Because what I need to see on the main escapist page is a horrifying nightmare demon straight from the depths of Satan's asshole.

The web image on this page however, very pretty.

Say, does this mean we can conclude all of those spouse killings in the mantis family for their insurance money too?

I declare it was the Black Widow, in the web, using poison.

opens the envelope

Crap. I never win this game.

Xan Krieger:
Because what I need to see on the main escapist page is a horrifying nightmare demon straight from the depths of Satan's asshole.

The web image on this page however, very pretty.

I thought I was okay with spiders, but I almost set my laptop on fire when I saw that.

Damn therapist, he must be in cahoots with those murderous spiders!

Well, now I know why Charlotte packed up and skipped out of town so fast....

Call detective Chrys Lyst, we now have a plot for an Insecticide sequel!

Let me know when they are able to put spider DNA into humans.

I want to be Spider-Man, damn it!

Spider-man beware! your crimes are now easily discovered!

i cant wait till shows like CSI start exploiting this. "This spider web saw what happened, we must extract DNA from it!"

Xan Krieger:
Because what I need to see on the main escapist page is a horrifying nightmare demon straight from the depths of Satan's asshole.

oh, come on, that image is so cute!

 

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