The Weizmann Institute of Science's researchers have discovered ancient DNA in fossil bones which are apparently well preserved. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has published the reports of the scientists. The fossil DNA provides information with regard to population dynamics, evolution, diets and diseases, and the migrations of both human beings and animals.
Contaminated DNA may also result in wrong interpretations being made. A hypothesis has been tested by the scientists Michal Salamon and Steve Weiner that crystal structures may be present in structures which contain well-preserved ancient DNA. They treated six fossil and two modern animal bones with sodium hypo-chlorite, and found that the extraction of DNA is possible from the crystal aggregates, which are reportedly well preserved when compared to the DNA derived from untreated ground bone.
AdvertisementThe DNA is protected by the crystal aggregates from environments which are hostile. Crystal clusters were reported in fresh bones way back in 1986. These bones need to be ground, after which they have to be treated with sodium hypochlorite, which will serve to remove organic material from them. Modern contamination is also prevented through the use of sodium hypochlorite.