Sarah scanned her keycard and entered Lab 1.
Even though Simon had said that the test results would automatically be sent to her Drop-in box habit told her that she had to make sure that all was as it should be in the lab.
The PCR6 still looked good in the room. She could see her colleges had started utilizing the machine; several of the displays above the twenty openings indicated that they were programmed and the machine hummed quietly as it worked.
She went over to the machine and looked through the plexiglass in front of the first opening. She noticed that test tube number one was now without content standing where she had left it.
It seemed that MAMA was functioning correctly; even so she checked the other six openings that she had used just to be sure.
The mechanical arm had returned all of the test tubes to their starting positions.
Sarah was still a little skeptical and she was looking forward to opening her drop-in box as soon as she got back to her office.
She removed the six test tubes from the PCR 6 placing them in the glass container below the machine then closed all of the plexiglass lids. She was wearing white plastic gloves as was her habit when working with samples for analysis. This was not just to protect her from retroviruses such as HIV or hepatitis, but also to prevent the samples becoming contaminated from her skin cells falling in.
She left lab 1 and went directly to her office starting her laptop as soon as she was seated.
While it was booting up she cast her eyes over the noticeboard beside her door; a quick glance revealed a new green note on the left side of the board.
She got up and plucked the note off the board.
It was from Simon. He was informing her that her conclusion of the paternity suit from the day before was approved.
He had ended the note by attempting to draw Sarah’s DNA smiley, not successfully however, it looked more like a fallen ladder than a double-stringed DNA string. She smiled as she rolled the note into a ball in order to throw it into the trash. It was then that she noticed that her trashcan was not in its usual place beside her desk.
She growled smiling, guessing that her workmate Tom from the Genetics advice department had borrowed it.
Her laptop made the familiar sound that told her that it was ready to come to life, so she let Tom keep the trashcan for the time being and sat back down on her chair.
She laid Simon’s note on the desk and waited for the laptop to complete its startup routine so that she could log in to her drop-in box to see if MAMA had done her stuff.
She had an expectant feeling which had deprived her mouth of saliva. She arose and went into the corridor over to the water cooler that stood beside Andreas’ office door. She took a cup of water and hurried back.
When she returned to the office her laptop was ready. She started the drop-in box program, which loaded so slowly that she managed to take a mouthful of water. She placed her water in the desk when the program had loaded and she typed her user name and password in order to gain access.
For security reasons she had to change her password every month so it was not always easy to remember it.
Her noticeboard was, therefore, not just for messages; she had invented a smart pattern that quickly revealed her password if she needed it to.
She had chosen eight places on the board which, when read in the correct order, chronologically revealed her password. When it was time to change it she went to the board and wrote the new eight number code on eight separate small notes, which were placed in the eight places she had settled on; number one was placed in position one, number two in position two, and so on and so forth. This system allowed her to access her code whilst no other person could decipher it, even if they knew the eight numbers as there were hundreds of millions of combinations of these eight numbers.
Sarah had to use her self-composed system because the codes had been changed recently. She glanced over at her noticeboard noting the code and typing it into the password field in the drop-in box program on the screen. Pressing Enter inspired the program to accept her code and allow her access.
Sarah’s drop-in box was one of many thousand. The program held all of her former PCR, she could also send and receive PCRs , search results among all PCRs in North America and Europe, plus she could send mail and hold video conferences with all of the other users.
The program had existed for several years and Sarah thought it was genial.
With just a few clicks of her mouse she could instantly analyze and compare samples with others. The program was also able to calculate the probability of all comparative situations that she could imagine.
In the welcome menu Sarah could see that the new activity icon was blinking, so she double clicked on it.
Seven DNA-profiles popped up on the screen.
The profiles stood lined up on the screen. Moving the mouse over them caused them individually to be enlarged on the right hand side of the screen so that the band-patterns could be studied. Double clicking on them produced an even larger picture.
Sarah highlighted the sperm sample results and then clicked the compare icon.
A few seconds later a window popped up with the word MATCH.
Sarah clicked on it and the program showed the two identical band-patterns side-by-side.
There was an identification number under each of the patterns. She right-clicked on them and copied them. She then minimized her drop-in box and opened another one. When she was logged on she quickly found and opened the file that held the identification numbers from the day before and pasted the new numbers in.
She could see that the identification number belonged to a David Stoltzfus.
She maximized the first window again and clicked on calculate.
A split second later the program had calculated that this David Stoltzfus was 99.9999% likely to be the perpetrator.
The other four suspects were therefore ruled out.
Sarah opened yet another document. It was the template that she used when she did PCR, analysis and identification for sexual offences. When the document was filled out she had to send it to Simon for approval before it was sent on to either the police or the courts.
She was filling out the form when she got to the Identification number she suddenly stopped.
A strange feeling crept over her; a feeling that she had never had before in her work as a geneticist.
She took a deep breath and saved the document minimizing it so that the first drop-in box once again filled the screen. She then adjusted her focus to the two matching band-patterns.
It simply can’t be true, she thought moving the curser over the one pattern, which was instantly enlarged allowing her to study the individual parts in more detail.
She moved closer to the screen, almost pressing her nose up against it, staring intensely.
Sarah couldn’t believe her eyes.
The two matching band patterns both had a very short, dark extra line, which represented fragments of DNA; it was this extra band that amazed.
Evolution continually shock the gene pool which resulted in new DNA fragments popping up and others disappearing. This phenomenon was commonly known as mutation and was the cornerstone of Darwin’s theory of evolution.
The modern human, Homo sapiens is the result of an evolutionary process that has occurred over many thousands of years. On this long journey DNA fragments have come and gone and other sub-species of Homo had appeared and later been replaced by others.
Habilis, Ergaster and Erectus were all members of the Homo family, but they died out following evolution’s slow but sure steps.
Another, later member, who also succumbed to evolution, was Neanderthalensis. It was this Homo that, indirectly, had caused Sarah’s amazement. The specific fragment of DNA which had shown up as a little extra band on the two identical analysis wasn’t normally seen in modern human’s genome.
It was, however, a part of the band pattern in Homo Neanderthalensis, who had been extinct for over 50,000 years!
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