Monday, 2 October 2017

10,000 year-old DNA proves when fish colonized lakes

September 20, 2017
DNA molecules in lake sediment are few and hard bound to particles. This resulted in challenging analyses and required development of new methods, both for extracting sufficiently clean DNA and for the statistical analysis of data. For this work, doctoral student Fredrik Olajos and researcher Folmer Bokma's efforts were of particular importance.
"It's fantastic news that DNA can be stored for so long in lake sediment. Normally, free DNA molecules break down within days, but certain DNA fragments are preserved because they bind to clay particles," says Professor Göran Englund, one of the researchers behind the study.
"Being able to map the prevalence of DNA in lake sediments is now opening up a new window into history, which lets us see how nature has developed over a long period of time," says Göran Englund. We have already started a project aiming to study how lake ecosystems are affected by historical climate changes. That can provide important clues to a better understanding of how the current global warming will affect ecosystems."



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