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DNA Test – Greenland’s Surprising History


According to a report by the BBC, the country of Greenland was once a very different sight to the ice-covered landscapes that are witnessed on its terrains today. A DNA test established that the country used to be rife with verdant woodland that was teeming with insects which is surprising given the fact it is now covered with more than 2,000m of ice. The DNA test carried out on samples deep beneath the icy surface certainly threw up a few surprises about Greenland’s colourful past.

DNA Test – A Rich History

According to the report on the BBC, a DNA test carried out on ice cores in Greenland have provided scientists with evidence that the country was covered with forests of pine and spruce and that moths, butterflies and a variety of insects were abundant in the region between 450,000 and 800,000 years ago. Researchers who worked on the DNA test believe that the specimens that they uncovered may well be the oldest pure DNA samples ever obtained. Speaking to the BBC, Dr Willerslev, of the University of Copenhagen, stated, “We have shown for the first time that southern Greenland, which is currently hidden under more than 2km of ice, was once very different to the Greenland we see today.”

DNA Test – A Scientific Revelation

Extracting DNA is a very technologically advanced process and in the case of discovering Greenland’s verdant past, the scientists conducting the DNA test certainly had their work cut out. According to the report on the BBC, the researchers had to drill to the bottom of the 2km thick ice sheets in order to get at the rich sediment at the bottom and conduct a DNA test upon it. The John Evans glacier in Canada was used as a control sample to ensure that the DNA samples uncovered from the ice originated in Greenland and hadn’t blown there or arrived by other means. The DNA test result have caused stirs in the scientific community and Dr Enrico Cappelinni of the University of York, stated to the BBC, “Given that 10% of the Earth’s terrestrial surface is covered by thick ice sheets, it could open up a world of new discoveries.”

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