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Science. 1994 Nov 18;266(5188):1229-32.

DNA sequence from Cretaceous period bone fragments.

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Department of Microbiology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602.


DNA was extracted from 80-million-year-old bone fragments found in strata of the Upper Cretaceous Blackhawk Formation in the roof of an underground coal mine in eastern Utah. This DNA was used as the template in a polymerase chain reaction that amplified and sequenced a portion of the gene encoding mitochondrial cytochrome b. These sequences differ from all other cytochrome b sequences investigated, including those in the GenBank and European Molecular Biology Laboratory databases. DNA isolated from these bone fragments and the resulting gene sequences demonstrate that small fragments of DNA may survive in bone for millions of years.

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