A study by Western Australia‘s Murdoch University concluded that DNA cannot survive more than 6.8 million years – a finding that effectively rules out the tantalising prospect of replicating dinosaurs. Most dinosaurs died out about 65 million years ago.
“We’ve been permanently plagued by this Jurassic Park myth that’s been kicking around since the early nineties,” lead researcher Mike Bunce told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“The myth is still out there. Even other scientists ask whether it is possible.”
Scientists have long sought to examine whether dinosaur DNA may have survived – a prospect envisaged by the Michael Crichton bestseller and Stephen Spielberg film. Several papers claiming that 135 million-year-old insect DNA had been extracted from amber were later debunked after it was found the remains had been contaminated with human genetic material.
The new study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, was based on carbon-dating bones from the moa, an extinct New Zealand bird. The researchers found that the DNA from the bones halved after about 521 years when stored at 13.1 degrees. At minus five degrees, the final fragments of DNA in a bone would disappear after 6.8 million years.
”But it’s probably at about 1 million years in frozen conditions that you can extract a meaningful bit of DNA and do something with it,” Dr Bunce said.
Source : Telegraph