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For many years, the majority of paleontologists believed that fossils lost all organic material during the fossilization process. They believed that any soft tissue would have either rotted away or been eaten by scavengers. However, in 2007, this idea was disproven.

MOR 1125Edit

In 2007, paleontologists Jack Horner and Mary Schweitzer reluctantly broke open the femur of a Tyrannosaurus rex. When they put the specimen in an acid bath, they discovered soft tissues and proteins inside it. While no DNA was preserved, they did manage to uncover some of the tyrannosaur's protein code. From this, the DNA code could be deduced. While some scientists thought that the tissues were merely biofilm, a closer examination proved that they were almost certainly blood vessels.

Proteins discovered in dinosaur fossilsEdit

Tyrannosaurus rex (MOR 1125)Edit

Collagen, type |, alpha 1: Amino acid sequence (Source 1):

       1 gatgapgiag apgfpgarga pgpqgpsgap gpkxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
      61 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
     121 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
     181 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
     241 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxgv qgppgpqgpr
     301 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
     361 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
     421 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxgs agppgatgfp
     481 gaagrxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
     541 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xgvvglpgqr

Collagen, type |, alpha 2: Amino acid sequence (Source 2):

      1 glpgesgavg pagpigsr

Collagen, type ||, alpha 1: Amino acid sequence (Source 3):

      1 glvgapglrg lpgk

Brachylophosaurus canadensis (Leonardo)Edit

Collagen, type |, alpha 2: Amino acid sequence (Source 4):

     1 gsngepgsag ppgpaglrgl pgesgavgpa gppgsr

Collagen, type |, alpha 1: Amino acid sequence (Source 5):

      1 gatgapgiag apgfpgargp sgpqgpsgap gpkgvqgppg pqgprgltgp igppgpagap
     61 gdkgeagpsg ppgptgargs agppgatgfp gaagrgetgp agpagppgpa gar

Translation into DNA codeEdit

By themselves, proteins are essentially useless for cloning dinosaurs. However, by looking at the protein code, the DNA code can be deduced. For example, it is possible to take this actual piece of Tyrannosaurus protein code:

     gatgapgiagapgfpgargapgpqgpsgapgpk

And translate it into DNA code:

   GGNGCNACNGGNGCNCCNGGNATHGCNGGNGCNCCNGGNTTYCCNGGN 
   GCNMGNGGNGCNCCNGGNCCNCARGGNCCNWSNGGNGCNCCNGGNCCNAAR

However, as mentioned in the MOR 1125 article, the complete genome of a Tyrannosaurus contains 1.77-2.32 billion letters. This means that we still have to find more proteins before we can clone one. In addition, only 4% of the DNA coded for proteins. This is where the idea of DNA in amber comes to mind.

SourcesEdit

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/protein/P0C2W2.2

2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/protein/P0C2W4.1

3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/protein/P0C2W3.1

4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/protein/P86290.1

5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/protein/P86289.1

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