DNA’s half-life identified using fossil bones

We are used to radioactive substances having a half-life, but DNA? Now a study of bones from extinct birds suggests the double helix too has a measurable half-life – and that we have underestimated its ability to survive in the fossil record.

“DNA degrades at a certain rate, and it therefore makes sense to talk about a half-life,” says Morten Allentoft at Copenhagen University, Denmark, who together with Mike Bunce at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, and colleagues, extracted DNA from the leg bones of 158 extinct flightless birds called moas.

View the original article here: DNA’s half-life identified using fossil bones

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