Oldest DNA exposes ancient ecosystems <newscientist.com>

Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 12:16 pm
DNA from the animals and plants that populated Siberia and Alaska up to 395,000 years ago has been recovered from specks of permafrost.....

Eske Willerslev and his team at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark sampled permafrost along 1200 kilometres of Siberia's Arctic coast. They drilled to depths of 31 metres, removed cores of soil, and then extracted any DNA remaining in the frozen earth......

The permafrost contained DNA from eight species of mammals including woolly mammoth, steppe bison and musk ox, dating back 30,000 years, as well as 28 families of trees, shrubs, mosses and herbs, some of which lived 300,000 to 400,000 years ago.

By drilling at widely spaced locations, and at different depths, the team could recreate ancient landscapes and watch them evolve. "From just two grams of soil, you can obtain a meaningful sample of the ecosystem," says Willerslev.

Ancient DNA
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Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2003 07:40 pm
Little K
Sorry I did not come across this earlier, this is a completely new approach to paleo environmental reconstrution that I was completely unaware of. Thanks for the reference.
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Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2003 07:54 pm
Yes, thanks.
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Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2003 10:35 pm
Pretty amazing stuff! You're welcome.
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Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2003 10:06 am
Just incredible what technology has brought us to be able to get a better look at the past.
Thanks k..good stuff.
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Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2003 11:19 am
There are so many wonderful thing that are happening in the world of science. So exciting. Sometimes I think that I would be great if I were 10 years old again, so I could watch the development! littlek Thanks for the story!
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Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2003 03:11 am
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Reply Sun 12 Sep, 2010 02:26 pm
The guy who ran this field work is still in the news. He's sequencing pre-historic human genomes.
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