Butterfly's DNA may alter Ice Age data

July 5, 2007

Discoveries of a butterfly species' DNA in the Far East and Western Europe may rewrite the known history of the Pleistocene Ice Age.

Italian researchers Valerio Sbordoni and Paolo Gratton of the Rome Tor Vergata University said traces of the species' DNA have been found beyond the range once associated with the insect's history, the Italian news agency ANSA said Wednesday.

The Italian duo, along with Polish Academy of Sciences researcher Maciek Konopinski, used the new data to create an updated map of the world's greenery during the global ice age more than 10,000 years ago.

"The evidence from the mitochondrial DNA strongly suggests that large patches of the world's forests survived the impact of the last Ice Age and were alive and well as far back as 150,000 years ago," Sbordoni told ANSA. "There were definitely oases in which the Parnassius mnemosyne butterfly thrived, especially in the Carpathians and the ancient German region of Pannonia."

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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