Contrary to the movie Jurassic Park, in which scientists recreate dinosaurs from ancient DNA, genetic material more than about 50 thousand years old cannot be reliably recovered. Nevertheless, a team of scientists has now demonstrated that computers could be used to reconstruct with 98 percent accuracy the DNA of a creature that lived at the time of the dinosaurs more than 75 million years ago--a small, furry nocturnal animal that was the common ancestor of all placental mammals, including humans.
Knowing this ancestral mammal’s complete genome--the sequence of As, Cs, Ts, and Gs in the DNA that made up its chromosomes--would not mean that scientists could bring it to life. (For one thing, synthesizing that much DNA would be prohibitively expensive and technically difficult.)
But that’s not the point. The point is to understand the evolution of humans and other mammals at the molecular level, said David Haussler, professor of biomolecular engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz. "We will be able to trace the molecular evolution of our genome over the past 75 million years. It’s a very exciting new way to think about our origins, a kind of DNA-based archaeology to understand how we came to be," said Haussler, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator and director of UCSC’s Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering.
Tim Stephens | EurekAlert!
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Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.
Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...
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