Amino racemization dating

Jurassic Racemization In addition to studying animal life span, Bada also applied racemization analysis to the search for genetic material in ancient fossil and tissue samples.

DNA stability is a major complication in the analysis of ancient genetic material.

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Researchers turned to Jeffrey Bada and his colleagues at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, CA, who are considered experts in the field of racemization analysis.This circumstantial evidence led Craig George and fellow researchers at the Department of Wildlife Management (North Slope Borough, Barrow, AK) to believe that bowhead whales, named for their exaggerated jaw curve, could have a life span of more than 200 years.(To hear a radio interview with George, visit The only other animals with similarly long life spans are the giant tortoise and the giant clam, which some have claimed can live about 150 and 220 years, respectively.By conducting aspartic acid racemization measurements using an HPLC/fluorescence detection method, Bada analyzed the bowhead’s eye lenses to estimate the whale’s age at the time of death (2).The eye lens of a bowhead whale is made up of dozens of layers of protein, much like an onion.Additionally, characterization of nucleic acids can often be difficult and time-consuming.

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