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Thread: DNA degradation outdoors

  1. #1 DNA degradation outdoors 
    Forum Professor WVBIG's Avatar
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    How quickly does DNA degrade outdoors?


    Steven
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    Forum Freshman steph's Avatar
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    I don't think that's an easy question to answer, as it would depend on a number of variables. Depending on certain conditions, DNA may only last for a short while, or it could last for hundreds even thousands of years.
    If a sample is damp, it will degrade much quicker, whereas a dry sample can be surprisingly resilient.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Professor WVBIG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steph
    I don't think that's an easy question to answer, as it would depend on a number of variables. Depending on certain conditions, DNA may only last for a short while, or it could last for hundreds even thousands of years.
    If a sample is damp, it will degrade much quicker, whereas a dry sample can be surprisingly resilient.
    Thank you. That's what I thought. Unfortunately that's not good news for us Bigfoot researchers since the sightings seem to always come from wet areas.
    Steven
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    Forum Freshman steph's Avatar
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    Bigfoot eh? Fascinating. Well there's always a chance!
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    Forum Professor WVBIG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steph
    Bigfoot eh? Fascinating. Well there's always a chance!
    Could DNA be extracted from dirt that a person or animal stepped on? I mean the dirt of the track itself?
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  7. #6  
    Forum Isotope
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    potentially, though it isn't a very conclusive endeavor and would have to be taken hours after the print itself was made. This is assuming we can find hair, skin cells, or some other biological component in the dirt.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    DNA has been found in fossils which are millions of years old, so it does very much depend on the circumstances.

    (bigfoot, though, has never been found, so finding his DNA is less likely)
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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  9. #8  
    Forum Professor arKane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
    DNA has been found in fossils which are millions of years old, so it does very much depend on the circumstances.

    (bigfoot, though, has never been found, so finding his DNA is less likely)
    Good point. It seems to me finding bones or fossils would be a much better find than worrying about finding viable DNA in a foot print. If such an animal exist it's got to leave it's bones somewhere when it dies and to my knowledge none have ever been found.
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  10. #9  
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    Actually Genomic DNA has not been found in fossils millions of years old, at least not in any form that can be evaluated. Maybe mitochondrial from the bone, but that is not that usefule. However DNA can be degraded quite easily by microbes, heat, chmicals and sunlight. Any moisture will bring microbes, dirt has an abundance of microbes, so DNA from dirt, particularly wet dirt is almost impossible, unless recovered in minutes, and I mean just a very few minutes. Heat breaks down cells and DNA, as do chemicals and sunlight. If somehow it can be kept away from these things, then maybe outdoors you have a chance, but these conditions almost never present themselves outside.


    mmiller@forensicdnaexperts.com
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