Scientists Dash Jurassic Park Hopes with DNA Half-Life Study
Dinosaurs bit the dust around 65 million years ago, but pop-science has held that maybe, just maybe, some sort of DNA recovery could lead to a Jurassic Park-like scenario where dinos could once again roam the Earth. Whether or not you think that would be an awesome idea or an incredibly daft idea is now a moot point, as scientists have determined that it’s not possible to recover genetic material from the legendary beasts.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Perth examined DNA-containing bones from three species of extinct birds ranging from 600 to 8,000 years old. What they found, depressingly enough, is that the half life of the DNA is somewhere around 521 years.
Here’s what that means, according to the science journal Nature:
The team predicts that even in a bone at an ideal preservation temperature of −5 ºC, effectively every bond would be destroyed after a maximum of 6.8 million years. The DNA would cease to be readable much earlier — perhaps after roughly 1.5 million years, when the remaining strands would be too short to give meaningful information.
What. A. Bummer.
On the bight side, the findings could lead to older DNA sequencing – possibly more than a half million years (which is the current record).
But as far as dinosaur theme parks, we’re probably looking at robots and/or people in suits. At least we have Jurassic Park 4 to look forward to, I guess.
With such terrible news, I think we need a dose of Goldblum for some optimism: