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Beating Dino DNA to Death...
Hey Dino Fans,
With all this talk of T. rex DNA amplification I got to thinking about two
points. First, I find it a bit upsetting to see that some folks are
instantly assuming that the DNA is a contaminant. It is alright to keep
these types of questions in mind, but lets wait till the data is presented
before we assume that they are amplifying garbage. Hopefully their
presentation will include a description of the safeguards they employed to
prevent their KFC dinner from beeing amplified. Remember, they are
scientists too, and they want to take every precaution to ensure that the
T.rex DNA, and their reputation, looks good to their peers.
The second point I got to wondering about is why use T rex as the first
dinosaur to attempt DNA extraction from. Is the state of preservation in
these bones so rare that this is the first opportunity to attempt DNA
extraction, or is T. rex being used because of its mistique? Surely the
ability to amplify DNA from dinosaur bones is enough for a paper in Science
or Nature, without the added comparison to extant birds. If the state of
preservation is found in other specimens, why not try this first in a beast
where we have more than a handfull of individuals? That way the technique
could be developed before half a femur (or however much it takes) of a rare
individual is destroyed.
Needless to say, I, along with everyone else, am eager to see this work
presented in the literature.