Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Fossilised Devil DNA may save species


News from the front of the facial tumour battle - ancient DNA may hold the key to saving endangered species such as the Tasmanian devil.

For Mike Bunce, the skin, bones and dung of ancient Australian native animals are much more than the sum of their parts - they are a time machine to the past. Bunce, who heads the ancient DNA lab at Murdoch University in Western Australia, searches the remnants of long-dead animals and plants for clues about how to conserve their modern-day descendants.

Known as 'conservation paleobiology', this emerging field of science relies heavily on fossil and ancient pollen analysis together with carbon dating and, importantly, ancient DNA analysis to answer vital questions about the history of endangered species like discovering where an endangered species lived hundreds of years ago, to how it coped with massive changes in the environment.
 
You can read the whole article here at the Discovery News website.

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