Lack of DNA in insect subfossils

Lack of DNA in insect subfossils

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The research has been carried out by a team of experts from the University of Manchester Faculty of Sciences and has been published in the journal The Public Library of Science ONE (PLOS ONE).

The idea of recreate dinosaurs from fossilized insect DNA extractions in amber It has attracted attention for decades. In the 90s it was thought that this phenomenon could be carried out with amber that is more than 130 million years old, but it was finally questioned when a study in the Natural History Museum of London was unable to put theory into practice.

Amber specialist David Penney leads the expert team on the recent research in coordination with DNA expert Professor Terry Brown. Both employed next-generation techniques applied to insect subfossils in amber.

The workplace is a laboratory at the University of Manchester, isolated from other facilities with a pressure and air maintenance system.

According to Professor Brown “In studies in the 1990s, DNA amplification was achieved by a process called the polymerase chain reaction, whereby undamaged DNA molecules could have contaminated each other, giving false results. Our study is ideal for ancient DNA because it provides sequences for all molecules, regardless of their length, and modern molecules are less likely to contaminate”.

The team concluded that ancient DNA cannot be detected in relatively young insect subfossils (60 to 10,000 years old) despite the technology used, suggesting that no chance of survival in resin. This raises questions about the extraction of DNA samples from insect fossils in amber, several million years before the copals.

Penney intuits that “organisms trapped in amber could preserve the DNA of insects, but this seems not to be the case. So the approach used by Jurassic Park belongs to the realm of fantasy”.

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