DNA has a half life

Watched Can We Get DNA From Fossils? from

In 1993, scientists cracked open a piece of amber, took out the body of an ancient weevil, and sampled its DNA. Or, at least, so we thought. It took another few decades of research, and a lot of take-backs, before scientists could figure out how we could truly unlock the genetic secrets of the past.

DNA has a half-life, but it’s highly dependent on conditions

DNA constantly breaking (reacting with water molecules) which your body fixes up no prob while you’re alive, but the process continues after you die

Half-life of moa DNA only 500 years! Others 10000 years…

After the first half life though, degradation may slow down

Can also gather much older info by combining lots of smaller pieces of DNA — but for now it’s kind of hit a limit until scientists figure out how to decipher much smaller units of DNA

PCR very sensitive to contamination, it easily gets amplified and overwhelms the target data

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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