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Suppose that scientists found parts of the DNA from a dinosaur, what information would this discovery provide to the scientists? What information would it not give them?
Question Date: 2016-04-22
Answer 1:

If scientists find dinosaur DNA, analyzing it is a major challenge.

Scientist must extract the DNA (separate it from proteins), make copies of it, and determinine the sequence. All of these steps could lead to contamination or loss of the sample.

Once the sequence in DNA is known it can be compared to known sequences of animals alive today. These comparisons can inform scientist of how closely related species are and how animals evolved. If the identified sequences are in genes that encode proteins, scientist may be able to determine the structure of dinosaur proteins. For example,do dinosaurs have genes that encode proteins for making pigment? Perhaps this could give scientist an idea of dinosaur color.

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