The search for DNA in amber

Andrew Ross and Jeremy Austin

Amber, the fossilized resin of ancient trees, is remarkable for its ability to preserve prehistoric, organic material. These inclusions, and the successful analysis of their preserved DNA fragments, could provide scientists with incredible insights into the past. Is it now possible to extract dinosaur DNA from insects and re-create today these creatures from ancient history? Andrew Ross and Jeremy Austin discuss this controversial debate in the light of their recent research findings.

The search for DNA in amber PDF (61.7 KB)

Cartoon image of lab coats with T.rex name label

Our fossil insect collection includes Rhyniognatha hirsti, the world's oldest fossil insect, dating back some 400 million years.