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Dinosaur haemoglobin

Hi, all
I draw your attention to the following recent reference:

AU  - Schweitzer MH, Marshall M, Carron K, Bohle DS, Arnold EV, Barnard D,
Horner JR, Starkey JR
TI  - Heme compounds in dinosaur trabecular bone.
LA  - English
RF  - Article
AD  - Schweitzer MH, Montana State Univ, Dept Biol & Museum Rockies,
Bozeman,MT 59717 USA
AB  - Six independent lines of evidence point to the existence of
heme-containing compounds and/or hemoglobin breakdown products in extracts
of trabecular tissues of the large theropod dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex,
These include signatures from nuclear magnetic resonance and electron spin
resonance that indicate the presence of a paramagnetic compound consistent
with heme. In addition, UV/visible spectroscopy and high performance liquid
chromatography data are consistent with the Soret absorbance characteristic
of this molecule, Resonance Raman profiles are also consistent with a
modified heme structure, Finally, when dinosaurian tissues were extracted
for protein fragments and were used to immunize rats, the resulting antisera
reacted positively with purified avian and mammalian hemoglobins. The most
parsimonious explanation of this evidence is the presence of blood-derived
hemoglobin compounds preserved in the
dinosaurian tissues.
SO  - Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1997 JUN 10;94(12):6291-6296

These guys extracted proteins from MOR 555 T. rex, collected from Hell Creek
F in 1990, raised antibodies to these proteins in a couple of rats and then
tested the rat serum against various known haemoglobins. Positive reactions
from pigeon, turkey and rabbit, negative with snake. 
Early results, but if they hold up it would seem to be yet another
confirmation of the dinosaur-bird connection (what a pity they didn't check
against crocodile, turtle etc!!). They suggest that finding identifiable
proteins (or fragments) from within bones that have not been contaminated
may not be uncommon. They point out that phylogenies based on heamoglobin
sequences are already in existence and speculate that such material may
eventually provide answers to many classification problems. Fascinating!
Graeme Worth
HyperWorks Reference Software