We are in the business of breaking boundaries. And that is a fun business. One that has been going on since the introduction of NGS in 2005, and even after 13 years we have not seen the end of it. Such boundary is the temporal one, from just how far back can we get genetic information? It is very living at the moment since Enrico Capellini presented data at ISBA8 where he showed that we (Stockholm participates in his study, I and Love Dalén) had broken 1 million years. There is also a pre-print out on it. It was, however, not DNA but proteins. Nevertheless, genetic information preserved in proteins used to answer genetic questions. At the moment the oldest reliable DNA data is some 700.000 years old, an equid published by Ludovic Orlando. But there is also sediment DNA that could be as old, published by Eske Willerslev even before that. For a few years we (I and Cristina Valdiosera, and Love again) held the world-record on the oldest fossil-DNA with an ursus from Sima de los Huesos. In that particular study we used size, falling back on the logic that if we targeted really short fragments we should be able to go further back than our colleagues. When the DNA is gone, there is no way to retrieve any, but it is fun to experiment with preservation in different materials and pushing different laboratory techniques. At the moment this is not a big part of my research, but it is one of several future-paths I am thinking about though.
Once the phylogeny with the oldest fossil DNA in it