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Dinosaur osteocytes' preservation supported by molecular analysis

From: Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Mary Higby Schweitzer, Wenxia Zheng, Timothy P. Cleland & Marshall Bern (2012)
Molecular analyses of dinosaur osteocytes supports the presence of
endogenous molecules.
Bone (advance online publication)
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2012.10.010

The discovery of soft, transparent microstructures in dinosaur bone
consistent in morphology with osteocytes was controversial. We
hypothesize that, if original, these microstructures will have
molecular features in common with extant osteocytes. We present
immunological and mass spectrometry evidence for preservation of
proteins comprising extant osteocytes (Actin, Tubulin, PHEX, Histone
H4) in osteocytes recovered from two non-avian dinosaurs. Furthermore,
antibodies to DNA show localized binding to these microstructures,
which also react positively with DNA intercalating stains propidium
iodide (PI) and 4′,6′-diamidino-2-phenylindole dihydrochloride (DAPI).
Each antibody binds dinosaur cells in patterns similar to extant
cells. These data are the first to support preservation of multiple
proteins and to present multiple lines of evidence for material
consistent with DNA in dinosaurs, supporting the hypothesis that these
structures were part of the once living animals. We propose mechanisms
for preservation of cells and component molecules, and discuss
implications for dinosaurian cellular biology.