Friday, July 13, 2007


As long as 120,000 years ago, Greenland was apparently covered with lush forests, according to the latest findings detailed in this article. By analysing ice cores that are almost a mile deep, scientists have been able to find intact DNA belonging to conifers and a collection of insects. It is remarkable how the ice has so artistically preserved the genetic data, almost as if they were waiting to be discovered.

So far, the knowledge of the past environments of such ice-covered regions has been very limited, because the fossil evidence, if any, may be hidden. This study, however, has unearthed the possibility that many deep ice cores might contain genetic information about the environments of the region in their basal layers of ice. The result is also promising because there are many more ice covered areas on the earth, whose ecology and life forms can be studied by extending this technique. With facilities available to analyse DNA and identify species on a large scale, this offers a whole range of areas to be explored on a manageable time scale.


Karthik Sriram said...

really nice

in this connection have u read state of fear by crichton?

oLi said...

Karthik: Haven't read State of Fear, but have been meaning to for a long time now. Now that you give me the connection, it sounds like the mosquito bit in Jurassic Park. I'll read it over the next few months sometime.

When will you be putting up the next quiz by the way? :)

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