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Name: JB
Status: Other
Grade:  Other
Location: GA
Country: United States
Date: November 2005


Question:
What happens to our DNA when we die? I often hear on the news that useful results from DNA testing depends on how long a body has been dead. Also, what about people that are frozen after they die; is their DNA preserved?



Replies:
DNA is a molecule just like other molecules in your body and can be decomposed. If the conditions are not good for preservation, the DNA can be broken down into smaller chunks over time and eventually broken down into separate nucleotides which destroys the sequence. Sometimes protected compartments of organisms, ie. inside the teeth, or inside the bones, break down more slowly and can be sources of well or better preserved bits of DNA. People who are frozen after they die can have more well preserved DNA. In fact, Otzi the "iceman", a man whose body was found frozen in a glacier in Europe, had DNA that was well enough preserved that scientists were able to sequence it and determine when he lived.

vanhoeck



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