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Proving innocence, establishing guilt, staying sharp at 100

1) Three men cleared by DNA tests after more than 14 years behind bars for the murder and rape of a medical student walked out of prison. . .

2) Prosecutors in New York said they planned to exhume a man’s body in the next few days to compare his DNA with saliva left on a bloodied nightshirt at the crime scene. If there is a match, a man who has served fifteen years of a life sentence for the murder and has worked to solve the crime from behind bars may be freed. . .

3) In a recent upset, DNA testing in the infamous Duke lacrosse rape case found no genetic material from any of the accused young men on the woman's body or on her clothing. . .and rape charges against them have been dropped. . .

Brits have helped to establish the innocence and guilt of thousands by discovering DNA in the 1950s and by inventing DNA “fingerprinting” in the 1970s. Alec John Jeffreys’s DNA “fingerprinting” was first used successfully in 1983 to identify the rapist and killer of two girls. Jeffreys continues to refine his technique based on the latest information on the human genome, which British scientists have helped to map.

Human genome mapping has also proved crucial to an advance reported in the Times today,

A gene variant that is linked to long life also helps to preserve mental lucidity in old age.

An Israeli study involving 158 people who lived to 95 or beyond has found that those who inherit a particular version of the gene CETP are twice as likely to have a sharp and alert brain when they are elderly.

. . .The insights into how ageing affects the brain could lead to ways of protecting cognitive function in old age.

It would be wonderful to learn how to stay alert at any age. To learn how to create laughter when we're 100 will be a bigger hurdle, but it can be done. From the same article,

Bob Hope, the British-born comedian and entertainer who became an American icon performed for 11 American presidents, and maintained his keen sense of humour until his death in 2003, aged 100. One of his daughters reports that on his deathbed, when asked where he wanted to be buried, he replied: “Surprise me”.