Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sequencing T Rex Collagen

The Nature Newsblog features a blog entry about a follow-up investigative step related to the striking find of a fossilized bone of Tyrannosaurus rex. The blog cites a Nature article- 'Dinosaur protein sequence'- of which the first two paragraphs are quoted:

"Palaeontologists have sequenced some protein from a 68-million-year-old fossilized Tyrannosaurus rex bone.

The protein — a key component of bone and connective tissue called collagen — blasts the record for the oldest protein ever sequenced. Before this, the oldest sequenced protein (also collagen) came from a mammoth fossil that was 100,000-300,000 years old. So the new find, reported this week in the journal Science1, is quite a surprise."

This is a fascinating story that is still unfolding. As the article indicates, collagen samples were located "deep within the fossil's large, dense bones" which is believed to have protected the protein. While some sequence fragments have been found to be similar to that of chickens I'm looking forward to further analyses of the sequence patterns.


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