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Ancient DNA Recovered From Deep Sea Floor

ByTim De ChantNOVA NextNOVA Next

Researchers have uncovered some extraordinarily old DNA from muck at the bottom of the South Atlantic, some 5,000 meters down (that’s over 16,000 feet).

Traci Watson, writing for Science Magazine’s Science Now:

The DNA, from tiny, one-celled sea creatures that lived up to 32,500 years ago, is the first to be recovered from the abyssal plains, the deep-sea bottoms that cover huge stretches of Earth. In a separate finding published this week, another research team reports teasing out plankton DNA that’s up to 11,400 years old from the floor of the much shallower Black Sea. The researchers say that the ability to retrieve such old DNA from such large stretches of the planet’s surface could help reveal everything from ancient climate to the evolutionary ecology of the seas.