Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Killer Nashville 2014

It’s refreshing, renewing, and exhausting, getting together with other mystery writers. I’m not even sure I can tell you about the bizarre (and fun) conversation at the banquet table with several mystery writers I had never met before. You know, the kind I mean. The one that would get you arrested in some places and dirty looks in all the others. I’ll just mention one small part: the opinion that the DC sniper made some mistakes and could have done it better. See?

The opulent Omni Hotel in Nashville

The forensics presentations were excellent. One by Dr. Mike Tabor, odontologist for the Tennessee medical examiner. He touched on identification by teeth, but got further into bite marks. Odontology, according to him, is a fancy word for dentistry.

Dr. Lyle did a talk on DNA and I learned the history of the different methods. It was first used for profiling in 1984 and the method now used, which needs much less DNA (even a single cell is enough), came into being in the 1990s. Now I know not to reference these things at a time when they didn’t exist.

One very weird thing he told us about is chimerism. This is where one fraternal twin absorbs the other in the womb and one child, a chimera, is born with two sets of DNA. When this happens, different body parts can have different DNA. A person also has two sets when he has had a bone marrow transplant. The blood of that person is the same as the donor, the rest of his body keeps its original DNA.

The two guests of honor were William Kent Krueger and Lisa Jackson. Listening to them was very worthwhile! I’ll blog more on that next week.


  1. Kaye, I'm so glad you posted this! I didn't get to those forensic presentations. Fascinating information. Thanks so much and great to see you!

  2. I should have labeled this Part One because I want to post more later. It's too bad the scheduling had such overlaps. I wonder if I should also suggest building in nap time.

  3. I wish I could have heard this lecture. I'd never heard of the possibility of having different DNA in one body. Thanks for the post.

  4. I told my husband about the chimera. He said I already knew that. We'd looked it up for a crossword puzzle. How soon I forget. But I didn't know about the DNA.

  5. I've heard of the twins being absorbed, but didn't realize that, with fraternal twins, they would have 2 different DNAs. Pretty weird stuff.