'Jurassic Park' dino rebirth not possible

Oct. 10, 2012 at 6:59 PM
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PERTH, Australia, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Reconstructing dinosaurs from ancient DNA "is never going to be possible" since genetic material can only last 1 million years, an Australian researcher says.

While short fragments of DNA could possibly survive up to a million years, more complex sequences of genetic material would only have a half-life of about 158,000, dealing a blow to thoughts of bringing dinosaurs back to life as featured in the storyline of the 1993 movie "Jurassic Park," Morten Allentoft of Murdoch University in Perth said.

Scientists made that determination after analyzing DNA extracted from bones of the extinct New Zealand moa, a large flightless bird, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Wednesday.

The results contradict earlier studies that claimed to have extracted complex DNA fragments from dinosaur bones and preserved insects, the researchers said.

"What we show here with the decay rate of DNA is that this is never going to be possible," Allentoft said.

The study established a DNA decay rate which could help identify specimens likely to be a source of useful genetic material, the researchers said, and might someday enable DNA to be a tool to date bones and teeth or even be used for forensic investigation of human remains.

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