October 10, 2012

DNA Has a 521-Year Half-Life

Matt Kaplan, Nature News


AP Photo

Few researchers have given credence to claims that samples of dinosaur DNA have survived to the present day, but no one knew just how long it would take for genetic material to fall apart. Now, a study of fossils found in New Zealand is laying the matter to rest — and putting paid to hopes of cloning a Tyrannosaurus rex.

After cell death, enzymes start to break down the bonds between the nucleotides that form the backbone of DNA, and micro-organisms speed the decay.

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TAGGED: Fossils, Dinosaurs, Cloning, DNA, DNA Damage, Half-life

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