On Monday, September 7, The Washington Post ran a story on the bee. It's on Page A2 in the
On Monday, September 7, _The Washington Post_ ran a story on the bee.
It's on Page A2 in the "Science Notebook." Rather than type in the whole
story, I'll just list the salient points.
* A fragment of genetic material from a stingerless bee has been cloned.
The bee has been entombed in amber more than 25 million years ago.
* It's an extract of the muscle tissue representing about one-ten-
thousandth of the bee's genetic complement.
* The researchers are George O. Poinar, an entomologist at U.C. Berkeley,
Raul J. Cano, a molecular biologist at Cal Poly, Hendrik Poinar, a
grad student at Cal Poly, and David W. Roubik, a Smithsonian bee expert
* The first stage of the work has been reported in Medical Science Research,
a British journal.
* This work was acknowledged in Michael Crichton's _Jurassic Park_, and
the labs have been filmed for Steven Spielberg's movie. [No assurance
that the labs will actually appear in the final cut, though. -- HH]
* The team hopes to obtain dinosaur blood from an amber-entrapped biting
midge, extract some dinosaur DNA, and use it to trace the dinosaurs'
* Sequencing of the ancient DNA shows about a 7 percent difference from
the DNA of contemporary bees. This is a clue to the rate at which
bees' evolution has progressed.
* The amber was found in a mine in the Dominican Republic. It was formed
from the sap of an extinct bean tree, which lived in the area 25-40
million years ago.
-- Herb Huston
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank