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Turns out the half-life of DNA is 521 years, so the idea of finding an insect preserved in amber that happened to have just sucked up some dinosaur blood is, well, just a Hollywood fantasy. Not that it always wasn't, but there were some scientists who were hoping.

At 521 years, half of the bonds in a strange of DNA dissolve. Another 521 years, half of what remains goes away, and so on. Even though the rate may diminish over time, the total elapsed time from "whole" to 'none" turns out to be under 7 million years. And the dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago.

Too bad. I was hoping they could cloe one and I could ride it, just like I saw in that Kentucky Museum of Real History.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/120051-Science-Off...
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Goofyhoofy: Turns out the half-life of DNA is 521 years, so the idea of finding an insect preserved in amber that happened to have just sucked up some dinosaur blood is, well, just a Hollywood fantasy. Not that it always wasn't, but there were some scientists who were hoping.

Somedays I'm appalled with Wired, which also ran with this story.

The "half life" of DNA, unlike radio-nuclides, is *highly* variable, depending very strongly on temperature and humidity, particularly, as well as a variety of other factors (light, microbes, ...). So we have decent T. Rex DNA, which is many millions of years old, and thousands of instances of unusable DNA only a few weeks old.

It's so variable as to make the concept of "half life" meaningless.

rj
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The "half life" of DNA, unlike radio-nuclides, is *highly* variable, depending very strongly on temperature and humidity, particularly, as well as a variety of other factors (light, microbes...).

Can Woolly Mammoth Be Cloned From Frozen DNA?
www.aolnews.com/2011/01/18/can-woolly-mammoth-be-cloned-from...
They've been extinct for about 10,000 years, but woolly mammoths could be back on Earth in just five years, according to Japanese scientists who plan to use frozen DNA to resurrect the behemoth.

Last summer, researchers plucked skin and muscle tissue from an ancient mammoth's carcass that was found preserved under permafrost in Siberia. A nearly complete body of one of the animals was found there and has since been kept in a special freezer in a Russian research lab.

Researchers from Japan's Kinki University have found a way to isolate DNA from the frozen mammoth's tissue. Now they plan to insert that DNA into the egg cells of a normal, modern African elephant and then plant the resulting embryo into the elephant's womb.

DB2
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