View Full Version : What do we really know about Dino DNA?

03-24-2016, 03:13 PM

Ever since finding that soft tissue can preserve in dinosaur fossils, paleontologist Mary Schweitzer has been asked the "Jurassic Park" question will we ever be able to find original dinosaur DNA? And if so, could we someday recreate these awesome animals?
The answers to these questions can get pretty complicated, so Dr. Schweitzer has offered to help us understand what we currently do know about dinosaur DNA, and what may be possible.

Can we get DNA from fossils?

The question should be, "Can we get dinosaur DNA?" Bone is made up of hydroxyapatite mineral. This mineral has such a strong affinity for DNA and many proteins that it is used in modern labs sometimes to purify these molecules. Because this dinosaur bone has been sitting in the ground for 65 million years, the likelihood is high that if DNA were actively sought, it could be found, just because certain biomolecules, including DNA, stick like Velcro to the mineral. However, the challenge isn't necessarily in finding DNA, it's in making a strong case that the DNA is dinosaurian in origin by ruling out other sources. Is it possible that we may someday recover authentic DNA from dinosaur bone? The scientific answer is "yes"..all things are possible until disproven. Have we disproven this possibility? No. Have we recovered "authentic" dinosaur DNA? No. Therefore, it is an open question.