Scientists to Resurrect Ancient Gene to Replay Evolution

Posted by admin on May 2, 2009

The movie “Jurassic Park” was a lesson in how resurrecting extinct organisms can go awry. A new project plans to take a safer route: resurrect a single gene from an extinct species of bacteria. This tiny snippet of DNA will be implanted in modern-day bacteria, with the goal of seeing whether evolution can be replayed in the lab.

In previous work, paleogeneticist Eric Gaucher from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his colleagues reconstructed earlier forms of a common gene by computing the way different lineages diverged to create the bacterial family tree.

“It is a bit like what historical linguists do when they infer the spelling or pronunciation of an ancient word from its modern derivatives,” Gaucher says. “Except, we are working with the DNA alphabet.”

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