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Protein fragments sequenced in 68 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex

t species, the real goal is to find sequences unique to that organism. Asara generated a set of theoretical collagen protein sequences representing the kinds that might have been present around the time of T. rex. None of his dinosaur peptides matched the theoretical set, which is not surprising. "If you’re only finding seven sequences in T. rex, you’re not going to find novel ones, which we didn’t," said Asara. He also tested mastodon bone, sent by Schweitzer, against a database of existing amino acid sequences and against a set of mastodon theoretical sequences. He identified a total of 78 peptides, including four unique sequences.

"As we get better at doing the extractions, and the sensitivity of the instruments and techniques improve, I anticipate that we’ll be able to get from comparably aged species much more extensive sequences and to get novel sequences unique to that species, which will give us ideas about the relationship between species," said Cantley.

Still, it may be the rare fossil that is as pristinely preserved by the environment as the T. rex and mastodon specimens analyzed in the current study. "Nature has to give you the opportunity to do this first," Asara said.
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Source:Harvard Medical School


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