Because of the importance of DNA in the study of living organisms, and the role of DNA in scientific studies as diverse as human health, drug design, environmental responses to changing climate, and evolutionary relationships, ancient DNA is portrayed as the “holy grail” of molecular studies on fossils. Thus, DNA from dinosaurs would be the ultimate “cool science story”, the most exciting journalistic scoop, and every time a study is published on molecular analyses of dinosaur fossils, the question inevitably arises: “So do we have DNA, and how close are we to Jurassic Park?”

During times of global change, many organisms go extinct. Other groups are threatened because they have been greatly compromised by “bottleneck” events, where living representatives contain a mere fraction of the genetic diversity the species once held. By studying molecules from fossils of groups before and after such events, we may learn about the degree of diversity that once existed in natural populations, and learn ways to increase diversity in compromised descendants.

We can also learn about the durability of molecules under naturally occurring conditions more directly than using lab proxies, such as heat, to estimate rates of molecular degradation. Knowing which bases of DNA, or which residues of proteins are more likely to persist for long periods may aid in directed drug design. We might not want to design drugs that target a molecular region that lasts for tens of millions of years! And, tangentially, understanding the molecular make-up of materials that can last for millions of years and still retain their original flexibility, transparency, or other components might help us in designing biomaterials used for organo-electronics.

Because of the importance of DNA in the study of living organisms, and the role of DNA in scientific studies as diverse as human health, drug design, environmental responses to changing climate, and evolutionary relationships, ancient DNA is portrayed as the “holy grail” of molecular studies on fossils. Thus, DNA from dinosaurs would be the ultimate “cool science story”, the most exciting journalistic scoop, and every time a study is published on molecular analyses of dinosaur fossils, the question inevitably arises: “So do we have DNA, and how close are we to Jurassic Park?”

During times of global change, many organisms go extinct. Other groups are threatened because they have been greatly compromised by “bottleneck” events, where living representatives contain a mere fraction of the genetic diversity the species once held. By studying molecules from fossils of groups before and after such events, we may learn about the degree of diversity that once existed in natural populations, and learn ways to increase diversity in compromised descendants.

We can also learn about the durability of molecules under naturally occurring conditions more directly than using lab proxies, such as heat, to estimate rates of molecular degradation. Knowing which bases of DNA, or which residues of proteins are more likely to persist for long periods may aid in directed drug design. We might not want to design drugs that target a molecular region that lasts for tens of millions of years! And, tangentially, understanding the molecular make-up of materials that can last for millions of years and still retain their original flexibility, transparency, or other components might help us in designing biomaterials used for organo-electronics.

Discovered: DNA half-life makes  Jurassic Park  impossible; legalizing assisted suicide doesn't make everyone want to die; look at this venomous blue-ringed octopus;  cellular findings earn Nobel . 

When I was 17, I was a scruffy-headed biracial black and Jewish teenager, and a furious Louis Farrakhan hater. In the mid-1990s, Farrakhan’s fame and influence was at its height; I had once been thrown out of a middle-school gym class for calling the Nation of Islam leader a racist. His Million Man March, a massive collective act of solidarity and perhaps the most important black event of the decade, had been one of the loneliest days of my young life. I sat in homeroom, one of just a few dozen kids in school, wondering why so many people hated people like me.

It was a story my high school English teacher Cullen Swinson told me, years later, that helped me understand why people might associate with the Nation. Scott Montgomery Elementary School was located in what The Washington Post called “The Wicked District” in a grim series on black youth in D.C. in the 1950s. Things were still bleak in the late ‘60s when Swinson began attending Scott—one year, there was a crime scare that enveloped the whole neighborhood.

Ever since finding that soft tissue can preserve in dinosaur fossils, paleontologist Mary Schweitzer has been asked the “Jurassic Park” question – will we ever be able to find original dinosaur DNA? And if so, could we someday recreate these awesome animals?

The answers to these questions can get pretty complicated, so Dr. Schweitzer has offered to help us understand what we currently do know about dinosaur DNA, and what may be possible.

How long can DNA last in the fossil record, and how can we tell for certain that it is dinosaurian, and not a modern lab contaminant or DNA that has leached in from the environment?
Scientists have proposed that DNA has a pretty short shelf-life, most saying that it is unlikely to persist as long as a million years, and surely not more than five or six million years at the most. That sort of leaves out the possibility that we will ever obtain it from dinosaurs that last walked the earth over 65 million years ago! But how did they get this number?  

Because of the importance of DNA in the study of living organisms, and the role of DNA in scientific studies as diverse as human health, drug design, environmental responses to changing climate, and evolutionary relationships, ancient DNA is portrayed as the “holy grail” of molecular studies on fossils. Thus, DNA from dinosaurs would be the ultimate “cool science story”, the most exciting journalistic scoop, and every time a study is published on molecular analyses of dinosaur fossils, the question inevitably arises: “So do we have DNA, and how close are we to Jurassic Park?”

During times of global change, many organisms go extinct. Other groups are threatened because they have been greatly compromised by “bottleneck” events, where living representatives contain a mere fraction of the genetic diversity the species once held. By studying molecules from fossils of groups before and after such events, we may learn about the degree of diversity that once existed in natural populations, and learn ways to increase diversity in compromised descendants.

We can also learn about the durability of molecules under naturally occurring conditions more directly than using lab proxies, such as heat, to estimate rates of molecular degradation. Knowing which bases of DNA, or which residues of proteins are more likely to persist for long periods may aid in directed drug design. We might not want to design drugs that target a molecular region that lasts for tens of millions of years! And, tangentially, understanding the molecular make-up of materials that can last for millions of years and still retain their original flexibility, transparency, or other components might help us in designing biomaterials used for organo-electronics.

Discovered: DNA half-life makes  Jurassic Park  impossible; legalizing assisted suicide doesn't make everyone want to die; look at this venomous blue-ringed octopus;  cellular findings earn Nobel . 

When I was 17, I was a scruffy-headed biracial black and Jewish teenager, and a furious Louis Farrakhan hater. In the mid-1990s, Farrakhan’s fame and influence was at its height; I had once been thrown out of a middle-school gym class for calling the Nation of Islam leader a racist. His Million Man March, a massive collective act of solidarity and perhaps the most important black event of the decade, had been one of the loneliest days of my young life. I sat in homeroom, one of just a few dozen kids in school, wondering why so many people hated people like me.

It was a story my high school English teacher Cullen Swinson told me, years later, that helped me understand why people might associate with the Nation. Scott Montgomery Elementary School was located in what The Washington Post called “The Wicked District” in a grim series on black youth in D.C. in the 1950s. Things were still bleak in the late ‘60s when Swinson began attending Scott—one year, there was a crime scare that enveloped the whole neighborhood.

Will We Ever Be Able to Clone Dinosaurs? | Mental Floss


Why We Can t Clone Dinosaurs But Might Clone Mammoths

Posted by 2018 article

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