If you feel too old already, keep this in mind: the oldest-known DNA fragment is about two million years old. That’s the new conclusion of paleontologists from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) after they analyzed Ice Age sediments from northern parts of Greenland. The findings establish a new record of the oldest DNA ever discovered by humanity.
WION presents a new report about the new findings. Scientists are now optimistic that the discovery even has the potential to open a new chapter in paleogenetics. The new research was held in the Kap København Formation, meaning the northernmost part of Greenland, to be more precise.
According to another study, complex life emerged on Earth about 2.33 billion years ago.
41 fragments were more than a million years old
It has been discovered, due to the study of scientists from the University of Copenhagen, that 41 of the new fragments unearthed date back more than a million years.
Mikkel Winther Pedersen, who’s an assistant professor from the university, explained:
We are breaking the barrier of what we thought we could reach in terms of genetic studies. So it was long thought that one million years was this boundary of a barrier of DNA survival. But now, we are twice as old. And obviously, it makes us look for newer and older sights.
Prof Eske Willerslev, who is responsible for the study, explained, as the BBC quotes:
DNA is electrically charged molecules, and many of the minerals we see in the soil are also electrically charged. Therefore, the DNA will basically bind to solid minerals, and when it does this, it reduces the rate of spontaneous degradation.
Scientists now conclude, due to the new findings, that the Arctic was significantly warmer two million years ago compared to how the situation is in the present.
The new research was published in the journal Nature.