The reconstruction of a once-living landscape in northern Greenland from 2 million years ago, deduced from bits of DNA bound to minerals, reveals an Ice Age ecosystem in the throes of climate change that may suggest ways to mitigate rising global temperatures today. The collection, analysis, and interpretation of environmental DNA from this distant time and place provides a "genetic roadmap" for how organisms can adapt to a warming climate. The work is the cover story in Nature this week. Six of the 40-member multinational team discussed the findings at a news conference.
Environmental DNA – eDNA – is used to describe habitats both ancient and contemporary. Until now, the oldest eDNA was from a mammoth that lived in Siberia one million years ago.
To continue reading, go to DNA Science, where this post first appeared. Image credit Beth Zaiken.