DNA, the famous ‘code for life’ can help catch a criminal, prove parentage, or link someone with a long-lost cousin. It can also provide clues as to what species of plants and animals might survive or disappear with global warming.
The Earth has been a lot cooler, and warmer at various times in its past, and such changes have often led to large-scale extinctions of many species. The question for scientists is: Why did some survive, while others perished?
Dr Louise Allcock, a zoologist based at NUI Galway, has been using DNA to determine what exactly happened to the number and distribution of particular animal species during past Ice Ages in Antarctica.
This evidence from the past can provide a clue as to what might happen to animals worldwide with global warming.
It could provide an early warming system for species that are likely to get in trouble with global warming, and, thereby, allow some time for experts to put a conservation strategy in place.
LISTEN: Interview with Dr Louise Allcock
Broadcast on 2nd August 2012 on Science Spinning on 103.2 Dublin City FM.