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DNA Testing – Unmasking The Titanic Baby


When the Titanic sank in the Atlantic Ocean on April 15th, 1912, it resulted in the deaths of over a thousand passengers and many of these have remained unidentified in the years following the disaster. However, a report in the Telegraph states how, in one particular circumstance, DNA testing has put an end to questions about one who perished in the icy waters.

DNA Testing – Answering Titanic Mysteries

A solitary grave marked “Unknown Child” was a heart-rending reminder of the Titanic tragedy and thanks to modern DNA testing, the identity of this unknown child has been discovered, allowing their memory to be laid to rest. The report in the Telegraph reveals that the child was initially thought to belong to a Finnish family who perished during the journey but DNA analysis has shown this not to be the case. The results of the test where finally able to reveal that the “Unknown Child” was, in fact, Sidney Goodwin, a 19 month old child from England. These findings are testament to the advancements in this field and show the broad uses that it has.

The Devil Is In The Detail

DNA testing is obviously a very precise and intricate process and its accuracy is more or less infallible. As for the test on the “Unknown Child” of the Titanic, it was the size of the child’s teeth that meant that scientists could conclude that the body didn’t belong to the Finnish baby as first thought and this proved the catalyst for the testing. The Telegraph reports that after genetic tests on the child’s HVS1, which is a type of mitochondrial DNA molecule, it was shown not to match the genetic code of the Finnish family the child was thought to belong to. However, a surviving relative of Sidney Goodwin provided a DNA sample and it was shown to be a match. In the case of the “Unknown Child”, the use of DNA testing proved very successful in unravelling a mystery that many thought would never be solved.

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