Of DNA Degradation and Dinosaurs…

– – Just when the Jurassic Park films had us hoping for such a real-life scenario, it turns out to be virtually impossible owing to the calculated half-life of DNA, which figures out to be only around 521 years. 

A team of paleogeneticists tested 158 leg bones belonging to three species of extinct giant moa birds which ranged from 600 to 8,000 years old, running a series of comparisons between the age of the various bones and DNA degradation within each specimen.  The DNA half-life worked out to about 521 years in specimens kept at swamp temperatures.  Even a more ideal preservation temperature of minus 5 degrees Celsius would only result in readable DNA from specimens up to 1.5 million years old, far less than would be required to reconstitute a T-Rex or raptor…

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3 Comments on “Of DNA Degradation and Dinosaurs…”

  1. carycomic Says:

    Drat! I was so hoping to, someday, see a woolly mammoth (re)born from a modern-day elephant.*

    *Don’t laugh! There was once serious discussion about that…at least twenty years before Dolly the Sheep became the first mammal to be successfully cloned.


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