|By Wayne Madsen Online Journal Contributing Writer
May 21, 2009, 00:20
(WMR) — The history of the extraction of the genetic material from the corpses of victims of the 1918 Spanish influenza virus who were buried in Arctic permafrost is part “X-Files” and part “Jurassic Park.”
After an unsuccessful 1951 mission, that involved U.S. biological warfare specialists, to extract 1918 Spanish flu genetic material in 1951 from a cemetery in the Inupiat Eskimo village of Brevig Mission, Alaska, scientists made another attempt, a successful one it turns out, in 1997.
Dr. Johan Hultin, from the State University of Iowa, successfully extracted genetic material from the corpse of an obese 30-something female who died from the Spanish flu in 1918, along with 85 percent of Brevig Mission’s (called Teller Mission in 1918) villagers in a single week. The pandemic killed at least 50 million people around the world.
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