Tuesday 17 September 2019

Genetic data is extracted from 1.7 million-year-old rhino tooth

Researchers at the universities of Cambridge and Copenhagen identified an almost complete set of proteins in the dental enamel of the ancient rhino, found in Dmanisi in Georgia (stock photo)
Researchers at the universities of Cambridge and Copenhagen identified an almost complete set of proteins in the dental enamel of the ancient rhino, found in Dmanisi in Georgia (stock photo)

Sarah Knapton

Genetic information has been extracted from a 1.7 million-year-old rhino tooth, raising hopes that crucial data about extinct animals could be retrieved, or lost species revived.

The discovery is one million years older than the oldest DNA sequenced, from a 700,000-year-old horse, and is the earliest ever recorded. Researchers at the universities of Cambridge and Copenhagen identified an almost complete set of proteins in the dental enamel of the ancient rhino, found in Dmanisi in Georgia.

Prof Enrico Cappellini, a specialist in palaeoproteomics at the Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, said: "Dental enamel is extremely abundant and is incredibly durable, which is why a high proportion of records are teeth."

© Daily Telegraph, London

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