A study of DNA extracted from the leg bones of extinct moa birds in New Zealand found that the half-life of DNA is 521 years. So every 1,000 years, 75 per cent of the genetic information is lost. After 6.8 million years, every single base pair is gone. Bacterial RNA is much tougher and sequences have been recovered from ice crystals that are 419 million years old. These are only short fragments of 55 base pairs though.
three things tagged “genetics”
This is Dogor 🐾, an 18,000-year old puppy preserved in Siberian permafrost. His name means “friend.” He was discovered as a lump of frozen mud near Yakutsk and lies at a private museum.
Testing on a rib bone has revealed the animal’s age: about two months, said Stanton, a postdoctoral scholar who has been working for more than a year on a broader attempt to answer lingering questions about canine history.
The analysis also put Dogor’s short life at a particularly interesting period of time, right around when many wolf lineages were going extinct and dogs are thought to have emerged. Exactly how and when they evolved from wolves is unclear; one recent study estimates between 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.