Oldest DNA recovered from the Teeth of Siberian mammoths

The Scientists have recovered the oldest DNA on record from the teeth of Siberian Mammoths.

Highlights

  • The DNA was extracted from the molars of mammoths.
  • These mammoths were found in the north-eastern Siberia some 1.2 million years ago.
  • DNA was recovered and sequenced from the remains of three individual mammoths.
  • The mammoths were among the large mammals who dominated Ice Age landscapes.

Background

The remains of the mammoths were discovered in the early 1970s. However, since then, new scientific methods were required to extract the DNA.

Key Facts

  • The oldest of the three mammoths was discovered near Krestovka river.
  • This mammoth was 1.2 million years old.
  • Another mammoth was discovered near the Adycha river and is 1 to 1.2 million years old.
  • While, the third mammoth was recovered from Chukochya river. It is around 7,00,000 years old.

About Mammoth

It is the species of extinct elephantid of genus Mammuthus. The mammoth was equipped with the long, curved tusks and a covering of long hair. They were found from the Pliocene epoch to the Holocene some 4,000 years ago. The species existed in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. They belonged to the family Elephantidae. The family also comprises of two genera of modern elephants and their ancestors.

What is DNA?

It is Deoxyribonucleic acid which is composed of two polynucleotide chains. These chains are coil around each other and form the double helix. The helix carries the genetic instructions for the growth, development, functioning, and reproduction of organisms and viruses. It is a self-replicating material carrying the genetic information of the living organisms.

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