Shroud of turin carbon dating false
The new study suffers from the same issues that made past studies of pollen on the shroud unreliable, said Renée Enevold, a geoscientist at the Moesgaard Museum in Denmark who has analyzed ancient pollen in the past.
"The plant DNA could be from many sources, and there is no way of finding the right source," Enevold told Live Science in an email.
The team also sequenced the human mitochondrial DNA (DNA passed from mother to child) found in dust from the shroud.
The genetic lineage, or haplotype, of the DNA snippets suggested that people ranging from North African Berbers to East Africans to inhabitants of China touched the garment.
She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.
The Shroud of Turin, a linen cloth that tradition associates with the crucifixion and burial of Jesus, has undergone numerous scientific tests, the most notable of which is radiocarbon dating, in an attempt to determine the relic's authenticity. Shredding the samples would not solve the problem, while making it much more difficult and wasteful to clean the samples properly.
"So the proper thing to do is to maintain an open mind at the moment." However, using DNA analysis and more sophisticated scientific techniques could ultimately settle the question, Farey said.
For instance, geologists can now determine the origin of rock with incredible precision, by analyzing its ratio of isotopes of certain elements.
[Religious Mysteries: 8 Alleged Relics of Jesus] According to legend, the shroud was secretly carried from Judea in A. 30 or 33, and was housed in Edessa, Turkey, and Constantinople (the name for Istanbul before the Ottomans took over) for centuries. So geologists have argued that an earthquake at Jesus' death could have released a burst of neutrons.
Still, Farey said he's about 40 percent convinced the shroud is authentic and about 60 percent inclined to believe it is a forgery.