New blogs

Leherensuge was replaced in October 2010 by two new blogs: For what they were... we are and For what we are... they will be. Check them out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

DNA in sediments: a system for accurate DNA dating?

While the emphasis of this news item is that mammoths seem to have survived in some areas further than the fossil record suggests, up to at least 10,500 years ago, the true interest of this research for me is that they seem to have developed a novel technique to find ancient DNA in sediments, potentially freeing science from having to rely only on fossils for that purpose. Also the method allows for accurate archaeological datation of such DNA remains.

This is potentially revolutionary in the field of historical genetics (and others):

Dirt DNA has lots of exciting potential to contribute to extinction debates in other parts of the world too, as well as a range of archaeological questions," said Willerslev, who also points out that the approach is not restricted to looking back at the past. "We can also use it to make a list of modern species living in any particular location," he said.

Source: Science Daily. While the research is said to be published at PNAS, I can't find it - so I guess it's not still in print.


terryt said...

Interesting link, thanks. I don't know if you've looked at lately but someone (I think Tim) has put up an article on North American extinctions. A comment in your link supports what I've just written there:

"our study provides an idea of what an extinction event might look like in real time, with imperiled species surviving in smaller and smaller numbers until eventually disappearing completely."

Maju said...

I know he has posted some stuff on that matter that I have duly and briefly browsed. However my main interest in this research is in the possibility of being able to sample and date aDNA from humans and related species and hence directly date our lineages and with them our prehistory better. That's what got me really interested.