Siberian mammoth teeth yield oldest DNA ever recovered

Scientists have recovered the oldest DNA on record, extracting it from the molars of mammoths that roamed northeastern Siberia up to 1.2 million years ago, in research that broadens the horizons for understanding extinct species.

The researchers said on Wednesday (Feb. 17) they had recovered and sequenced DNA from the remains of three individual mammoths - elephant cousins that were among the large mammals that dominated Ice Age landscapes - entombed in permafrost conditions conducive to preservation of ancient genetic material.

While the remains were discovered starting in the 1970s, new scientific methods were needed to extract the DNA.