Today's Dinosaur News

Comments

1
"One hundred million years." It would bring a pretty penny at auction.
2
Sigh.

As I said on slashdot, the half-life on DNA presupposes the following: room temperature water or some form of liquid water during the process.

Extremely arid environments have different conditions.

Extremely cold environments (oh, say, like maybe an icefall from a glacier or some other event (think mammoths, frozen mud in former lake/sea beds, etc)) have different conditions.

To store DNA we just drop the temp down to -80 C. That's wicked cold, but at those temps the half-life of DNA is much much much longer.

So ... since the amber does not remove the water in the bodies, it may be different, but this half-life of DNA concept presumes conditions that are fairly "wet".

I think T-Rex used those jumping legs he got off of the soldiers who went back in time to hunt him, to get around. Kind of like a really fast kangaroo. With teeth.
3
Sadly, amber can't provide us with DNA.

I believe a previous publication offers a contradictory claim. Although, now that I think of it, a subsequent report - in Nature, no less - pointed out that Dr. Crichton may have made a mistake and reported the result of accidentally sequencing the DNA of the cloning vector he used.
4
With more advanced technology in PCR and a very large number of DNA samples, you can still get a statistically valid DNA model of an extinct animal. Maybe. Don't lose hope.
5
You are soooo dumb for posting something before reading slashdot.
6
"Room temperature!" Classic! Fossils spent most of their time in living rooms, paleontologists think, with bedrooms and bathrooms a close second and third, respectively.

The chief hilarity in Will's ridiculous comment is that it demonstrates that the only effect Fnarf's relentless antagonism has had on Will is to make Will adopt Fnarf's condescending, "I can't believe I have to put up with you idiots" attitude. This is indescribably delicious to me.
7
The challenge is certainly great, but it's too early to give up hope (or fear), at least for larger animals from recent times. Using humans as an example, the diploid genome (all the chromosomes in a single nucleus) amounts to about 6.5 picograms of DNA. Just one gram of fresh tissue contains roughly one billion cells, which would yield a maximum of 6.5 milligrams of DNA upon purification, but again, one BILLION copies.

Using the power of advanced sequencing techniques, which (short story) use enzymatic amplification and computer analysis to bridge the somewhat random breaks in individual DNA strands, you can assemble much longer stretches of deduced sequence information. Ultimately, it may be possible to splice long sequences of synthetic derived-sequence DNA into a modern host genome (using African elephant for mammoth, say). Preserved skins from more recently extinct fauna would be a good place to develop techniques, because taxidermied specimens will have been largely protected from natural decay processes and also stored in fairly well-controlled environments (museums).

For older specimens, the particular places they're found (melting glaciers, peat bogs, tar pits, etc.) will determine the quality of DNA through factors such as temperature, acidity, inhibition of enzymatic degradation, etc.
8
This would be good for a SyFy Saturday movie. As long as it is better funded/acted/produced/directed etc. than the average syfy flick.
9
What I mean is ditch everything in that horrible sounding story except for the idea of an human engineered intelligent dinosaur/raptor. I don't know what else to do with the story line. Sorry.
10
If you need spider and wasp DNA, there's plenty of it around.
11
The Amber is a fairly good fixative, isn't it? I've been presuming all this time that amber infiltrates the organism it's trapping, the way one would infuse tissue with resin or paraffin for sectioning, only in a water-soluble way (so no need for organic solvents). If the critters stayed "wet," wouldn't they sort of turn into a pile of mush in there, as their cells broke down?
12
@6 amber seals off the internal atmosphere, actually. Most successful cloning and DNA sequences have come from places that are either arid (hence not a lot of water) or in frozen mud that has remained frozen or frozen snow/ice that has remained frozen (like mammoths being sequenced and even eaten).

But hey, live in your fantasy world. I'll just sit here in the dark, lighting my flourescent tagged earthworms ...
13
You're an IT drone working in the general vicinity of biomedical researchers, Will. Stop pretending to be a gene jockey.
14
That deinonychus-looking dude has a head like Voldemort. Also, the triceratops with the broken horn makes me a little sad.
15
@13: "You're an IT drone"

With his constant "predictions" that require more tech-knowledge than he possesses? Maybe a PHB of a middle-manager.
16
@15, while I appreciate the sentiment, Will's full name has been leaked on Slog before, and as a state employee his title (and salary) can be found in public databases. He is, in fact, an IT drone; he's also a bit Baron Münchhausen and Walter Mitty. We can hope than only the odd hapless intern or new hire ever comes under his direct supervision.