Scientists hit on the protein and lipid composition of the Siberian mammoth bone

phys.org | 1/10/2019 | Staff
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Scientists from Skoltech and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) studied the protein and lipid composition of a mammoth bone found near the Yana River in northeastern Siberia. Their study is one of the few pioneering endeavors in paleolipidomics—a frontier research area that complements paleogenomics and paleoproteomics. The results of their study were published in the European Journal of Mass Spectrometry.

Scientists worldwide took interest in the molecular composition of the remains of extinct creatures several decades ago. Advanced methods of genetic analysis have made it possible to study DNA extracted from fossilized bones, giving rise to a whole new trend in science, paleogenetics, that has helped crack a lot of evolutionary mysteries. Nevertheless, genetics alone is hardly enough to get a full picture of the animals that inhabited the Earth long before humans. In living organisms, the protein and fat composition is nearly as essential as DNA. This is why at some point paleogenomics was joined by paleoproteomics that studies ancient proteins. The lipid molecules, most of which are extremely unstable and could not be preserved for millions of years, were largely disregarded. However, some lipids experienced oxidative stress and turned into fossils that can be studied and may provide valuable insights into what our ancestors ate, what ailments they suffered from and how well-developed their nervous system was.

Paleoproteomics - Paleolipidomics - Liquid - Chromatography - Mass

Relying on both paleoproteomics and paleolipidomics and applying advanced liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry methods, the scientists from Skoltech and MIPT identified 98 proteins and 73 lipids in the bones of the Siberian mammoth and compared...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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