Where’s the DNA? Young Earth Creationism and the Search for Ancient DNA

So how long can DNA or even cells survive in the environment once an organism dies?   This has been a topic of considerable debate in the scientific literature since the advent of high-throughput DNA sequencing techniques.  This growing field of scientific inquiry is fascinating to me and promises to shed new light on old questions.  I have […]

NH Notes: Tardigrades – Animals that are Part Bacteria, Plant and Fungus

A new champion in the crazy genome sweepstakes has been crowned.  And it is a tardigrade. A tardiwhat?  A tardigrade, or better known as those lovable little “water bears” or “moss piglets.”  These tiny (<1mm) animals have always held the fascination of biologists not just because they are so darn cute and photogenic but because they are quite […]

A Flock of Genomes Reveals the Toothy Ancestry of Birds

A tidal wave of genomic information came ashore this week in the form of 45 new genome sequences of birds. In a series of papers released in Science hundreds of researches combine to analyze the hundreds of billions of pieces of genetic code of representatives of all the major groups of birds.  Prior to this only […]

Ancient DNA Redux: 700-Year-Old Virus Resurrected from Frozen Caribou Dung

Under nine feet of ice, frozen for 700 years, from DNA extracted from bits of caribou dung, a viral genome has been recovered and brought back to life.   Don’t worry this isn’t a case of mad scientists resurrecting the black plague for nefarious purposes.  This is the story of some inquisitive scientists investigating past environments […]

We’re Going on a Fossil Hunt to Find a Herpes Virus

There is a very recent form of fossil hunting that I have gotten to partake in to some small extent, and I can do it while sitting in front of a computer screen! With some computer skills and some knowledge of animal genomes it isn’t difficult to join this hunt for fossils inside the genome of living organisms.