How to catch that burglar who made off with your stereo? Thepolice have a new way to do it?they’ve found that burglarsoften can’t resist raiding the refrigerator and theysometimes leave saliva behind on crumbs and partially eatenfood containing DNA that can be used to identify them.

Anna Gosline writes in New Scientist magazine that accordingto a 1973 article in the British Dental Journal, “Criminalsappear to be unable to resist food, chocolate or fruit thatthey find on premises into which they enter illegally.”

CSI dental specialists have long realized that they canexamine this leftover food for bite marks, which they cancompare to dental records. Now they’ve discovered they canget DNA evidence this way too, and if they catch a suspect,they can easily get a DNA sample (CSI watchers will knowthat they usually do it by running a cotton swab inside themouth). When researchers Heather Zarsky and Ismail Sebetan testedthis, they found it worked best if they sampled sweets andsnacks first, since that’s what burglars usually go for.Their test consisted of having a dinner party with pizza,corn on the cob, chicken wings, ribs, bite-sized chocolates,cheese, apples and carrots on the menu. Guests were asked toeat a few bites of the foods they liked, and leave the restbehind.

Zarsky and Sebetan collected the partially eaten food andtried to recover DNA from it, using swabs. They found thatcheese, carrots and apples gave them the best results. Sincethis food is too healthy to tempt most burglars, it’s luckythat pizza delivered good DNA results as well. They foundout that the chocolate didn’t work well, probably because itwas broken into such small pieces, meaning not enough salivawas left behind.

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Carnie Wilson isn’t a burglar but she’salwayshungry. Find out how she finally lost weight and gainedspiritual insight.Subscribers canstill listen to Anne’s interview with Carnie on MysteriousPowers!

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