One hundred and forty-four years ago tomorrow, Abraham Lincoln was watching a play at Ford's Theatre in Washington when John Wilkes Booth slipped into the president's box and shot him. Lincoln died the next morning, and now his blood and brain matter - on part of a pillowcase at a Philadelphia museum - are being sought for DNA testing that may definitely solve a medical mystery.
Was the 16th president dying of cancer at the time of the assassination?
John Sotos, a cardiologist, an author, and a consultant for the television series House, wants to test the artifact to confirm what eyewitness accounts and 130 period images already tell him: Lincoln had a rare genetic cancer syndrome called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B (MEN2B).
But Sotos' request has stirred an ethical and scientific debate on the board of directors of the Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library, an off-the-beaten-path Civil War institution in the city's Frankford section.
Should the museum grant permission for the testing and enjoy the spotlight when the results are announced?
Or should it reject Sotos' request, avoid damaging the artifact, and honor the wishes of Robert Todd Lincoln to leave his father in peace?
You can read more in the Philly.com web site at: http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/20090413_Lincoln_s__Shroud_of_Turin_.html.