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Creation Science Fiction™

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Protein Sequencing, Not DNA, Could Be The Best Way To Reconstruct Evolution

Images: ThermoFisher Scientific

"An evolution revolution has begun after scientists extracted genetic information from a 1.77 million-year-old rhino tooth -- the largest genetic data set this old to ever be confidently recorded."

DNA analysis is no longer alone in helping us understand genetic relationships between extinct species. 

"Researchers identified an almost complete set of proteins, a proteome, in the dental enamel of the now-extinct rhino and the resulting genetic information is one million years older than the oldest DNA sequenced from a 700,000-year-old horse.

The findings by scientists from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, and St John's College, University of Cambridge, are published today in Nature. They mark a breakthrough in the field of ancient molecular studies and could solve some of the biggest mysteries of ancient animal and human biology by allowing scientists to accurately reconstruct evolution from further back in time than ever before."


This opens up all kinds of new opportunities to possibly get genetic information from long extinct species like Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo floresiensus, and it could help us map out the direct relationships between these species and us. Of course not all, or even many of the fossils we have discovered of those species will still contain genetic information, but the chances of finding it have just increased immensely. 


"Basically, this approach can tell us not only the species and the gender of an ancient fossil, but we can also draw an evolutionary line -- all from a single tooth', he says. 'Dental enamel is extremely abundant and it is highly durable, which is why a high proportion of fossil records are teeth', Enrico Cappellini adds.

'We have been able to find a way to retrieve genetic information that is more informative and reliable than any other source of comparable age before, and it's from a material that is abundant in the fossil records so the potential of the application of this approach is extensive."


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