Italian scientists said on Thursday that they had reconstructed the DNA of a fascist war hero and poet by analyzing semen left on a handkerchief he gave to a lover 100 years ago. Researchers reportedly said the breakthrough procedure could be used to solve cold cases.
The DNA of proto-fascist warmonger Gabriele D'Annunzio was reconstructed by forensic experts, after police in Cagliari, Sardinia, analyzed a handkerchief he gave his lover, Countess Olga Levi Brunner, in 1916. Police also looked at a letter the countess had written to D’Annunzio and an ivory toothbrush, Agence France-Presse reported.
Using a crimescope light, they identified splotches of semen that were invisible to the naked eye and compared the DNA results to those of Federico D'Annunzio, Gabriele’s grandson. Giordano Bruno Guerri, head of the Vittoriale degli Italiani foundation which held the items, joked that the experiment may lead to the cloning of historical figures whose remains were not available.
“Nobody wants to clone D’Annunzio, but nobody knows what changes will take place in science and society. It’s good the DNA has been collected,” he reportedly said.
Gabriele D’Annunzio took the city of Fiume, in modern-day Croatia, in 1919, trying to set up an independent state, which would later be a model for Italian fascism. His poems are still studied today in Italian schools.