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Nature. 1990 Apr 12;344(6267):656-8.

Chloroplast DNA sequence from a miocene Magnolia species.

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Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside 92521.


DNA has been successfully extracted from several samples of preserved tissue, the oldest so far reported originating from a 13,000-year-old ground sloth. Both severe damage to the preserved DNA, primarily due to oxidation of the pyrimidines, has prevented the acquisition of sequence data from ancient samples except in a few cases. We report here the extraction of DNA from fossil leaf samples from the Miocene Clarkia deposit (17-20 Myr old), the amplification of an 820-base pair (bp) DNA fragment from the chloroplast gene rbcL from a fossil of the genus Magnolia, and its subsequent sequencing. The sequence was verified by comparison with published and unpublished rbcL sequences. These results extend our ability to analyse ancient DNA and may open new avenues into problems in palaeobotany, biogeography, and in the calibration of mutation rates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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