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Author Topic: Is it possible to harvest DNA from 3000 year old bones?  (Read 4805 times)

Offline ...lets split up...

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Hi, i was reading this article about some giant turtle's on an island and how they found their 3000 year old bones. They are extinct due to human hunting. I was wondering if we are able to extract DNA from the bones? Would it be degraded? Would it be legal? Would we be able to recreate the species?

Here's the linkhttp://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/08/last-giant-land-turtle


 

Offline imatfaal

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Is it possible to harvest DNA from 3000 year old bones?
« Reply #1 on: 23/08/2010 17:45:05 »
I suspect not - bearing in mind the amount of work required on fresh dna of living species to get a dna replaced egg (somatic cell nucleus transfer) to divide.  But it's a fascinating idea and ethical problem once we do learn how to do it.  there is a truly dreadful arnie film on this premise.  Matthew
 

Offline rosy

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Is it possible to harvest DNA from 3000 year old bones?
« Reply #2 on: 23/08/2010 18:57:50 »
I don't think you'd try to do it by somatic nucleus transfer.. the chances of any one cell being viable after that length of time would be infinitessimally small. I think these days if one were planning to make the attempt one might more likely try to replicate an organism by sequencing its genome (in sections that could be correlated to make up the whole thing) and then re-synthesising it base-by-base and putting the resulting genetic material into an egg cell of an organism (and host mother) as close as possible to the organism you were trying to reproduce (so maybe for a wooly mammoth you might use an elephant) much like as for the Ventner et al. bacteria produced recently. The technology's certainly not there yet.

The other issue with harvesting DNA from long-dead organisms is, even if we assume the DNA is still there and not too much degraded by time to be extractable, it's as likely as not mixed up with the DNA of other organisms that have been in the same general area as it since - starting with the bacteria that were living in its gut/on its skin when it died and carrying on all the way up to the humans who presumably dug it up to carry out the cloning attempt.

Basically, I think it's likely we can't do it (which rather makes the question of whether we may, or should, moot). But it's not my field - it's 6 years since I did any cell biology/biochemistry, even at undergraduate level.
 

Offline Atomic-S

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Is it possible to harvest DNA from 3000 year old bones?
« Reply #3 on: 24/08/2010 05:17:15 »
Thus far, anyway.
 

Offline Kerry

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Is it possible to harvest DNA from 3000 year old bones?
« Reply #4 on: 24/08/2010 10:54:35 »
It is possible to extract DNA from bones - Alan Cooper recently extracted DNA from mammoth bones: http://www.labnews.co.uk/news_archive.php/5496/5/the-mighty-resurrection [nofollow]

Quote
Campbell and his colleagues took ancient DNA from Siberian specimen bones and converted mammoth haemoglobin DNA sequences into RNA.

They recreated proteins but as far as I can remember they said it'd be too difficult to actually recreate the species.

In a separate piece (unfortunately not on the web yet) Cooper said:
Quote
It demonstrates we can bring back aspects of the soft biology - the physiology , the biochemistry from the past. We have good records of the hard skeleton like bone and teeth but this is a new angle for studying evolution. It gives us access to a library of protein and genome variants that evolution has cooked up and simply a huge canvas to work with.
 

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Is it possible to harvest DNA from 3000 year old bones?
« Reply #4 on: 24/08/2010 10:54:35 »

 

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