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November 16 2012

30,000-year-old DNA preserved in poo a window into the past


Murdoch University DNA scientists have used 30,000-year-old faecal matter known as middens to ascertain which plants and animals existed at that time in the hot, arid Pilbara region of North Western Australia.

To date, this is the oldest environmental sample from which DNA has been obtained in Australia. It had previously been considered unrealistic to extract DNA from hot, arid zone samples due to the extreme heat.

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