> From: Anthonie Muller <awjm at holyrood.ed.ac.uk>
> Subject: Re: Jurassic park lecture
>> When I read all this talk about DNA conservation in amber, I must always
> think about H.J.Dombrowski, who claimed to have isolated bacteria from
> old salt deposits (see for instance Umschau 23 (1965) 736-736). It seems
> to me that a high salt concentration may very well protect against all
> kind of degrading effects.
>> Why is his work ignored? Have I missed an obvious counterargument?
Strikes me as a lot of paradigms are getting overturned in the field
of amplification of ancient DNA / reviving bacteria from ages
past...Svante Paabo went on a crusade a while back against REALLY
ancient DNA with the same arguments used in a previous post to this
group; trouble is, people kept amplifying it despite the fact that
natural oxidative / degradative processes were supposed to have nuked
it beyond recognition after only a couple of thousand years!!! New
Scientist has just run an article on brine shrimp which can survive
for years in a totally lifeless (as in: not metabolising ANYTHING)
state; why then should bacteria not be able to be dehydrated out of
sight, and still recover viability? Even after a couple of million
years, if conditions are favourable? While life may not be more
resilinet than we CAN imagine, it is probably more hardy than we DO
imagine. Someone ought to repeat the salt work; sounds like a good
seam to mine (sorry)!
Ed Rybicki, PhD
Dept Microbiology | ed at molbiol.uct.ac.za
University of Cape Town | rybicki at uctvms.uct.ac.za
Private Bag, Rondebosch | phone: x27-21-650-3265
7700, South Africa | fax: x27-21-689 7573
WWW URL: http://www.uct.ac.za/microbiology/ed.html
"Out here on the perimeter, there are no stars..."