"This discovery, when properly applied by our scientists, brings us closer to our goal of reconstructing genetic history. We now have the picture on the outside of the puzzle box, and by stringing together the pieces of aged DNA, we should be able to reconstruct genes from animals such as the wooly mammoth, giant sloth, saber-toothed cat or even from tissues of the Tyrannosaurus rex that was described last Friday in the journal Science," says Dr. Ensley. Brenda Jarrell, Ph.D., Patent Attorney and Partner at the law firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart remarks, "This is the first patent of its kind to be allowed by the US Patent Office"
Dr. Ensley believes that one of the first applications could be in forensic science, where time, the traumatic circumstances of a crime scene or the environment has caused DNA samples to become degraded. "We hope this gives criminal investigators another tool to re-open cold cases or revisit crime scenes, stringing together strands of detached DNA into a genetic trail that could solve a crime or exonerate the falsely accused," says Dr. Ensley.
This patent is part of a scientific progression that began in 1989 when DNA was recovered from 12 samples of ancient organic remains, ranging in age from 4 to 13,000 years. The remains included several Egyptian mummies and two extinct species -- the marsupial wolf and ground sloth. Plant DNA up to 400,000 years old, and DNA from the extinct mammoth and steppe bison have been recovered from Siberian sediments. In 1997, Patent #5,593,883 was granted to Ambergene Corporation for the recovery of