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Marshall Bern in the news



Twisted structure preserved dinosaur proteins
Collagen coils might have kept Tyrannosaurus molecules safe from harm for millions of years.
14 June 2011 | Nature
by Ed Yong

"Scientists have discovered how fragments of the protein collagen might have survived in fossilized dinosaur bones…The results, which are published in PLoS ONE, support the contentious claim that dinosaur proteins have been recovered and sequenced.

The study is 'interesting and plausible, but speculative', says Marshall Bern, a computer scientist at Palo Alto Research Center in California, who has also analysed dinosaur-protein data. 'It's hard to extrapolate too far from the little bit of sequence that has been found,' he says."


Dinosaur Study Backs Controversial Find
31 July 2009 | AAAS ScienceNOW [sub required]
by Robert F. Service

"When scientists reported 2 years ago that they had discovered intact protein fragments from a 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex, the skeptics pounced. They argued that one of the main lines of evidence, signatures of the protein fragments taken by mass spectrometry, was flawed...prompted Asara to release his complete mass-spec data set to other experts to allow them to judge for themselves. So researchers from PARC in California and the University of California, Davis, decided to do just that. They reanalyzed Asara's mass-spec data using a different set of bioinformatics tools and statistical tests."


Reanalysis of T. rex Spectra Confirms Findings of 2007 Study
30 July 2009 | Genome Web - ProteoMonitor

"A new study lends support to a 2007 study in which researchers said they discovered proteins in a 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex fossil... In the current JPR study, the researchers from PARC and the Genome Center at the University of California, Davis reevaluated the entire T. rex data set...and searched the spectra against the database using ByOnic tool. They then compiled a protein list using the program ComByne. Based on their results, the researchers concluded that 'the identification of bird-like collagen at the protein level is clearly significant.'"


Origin of 'T. rex' protein questioned
27 February 2009 | Nature
by Rex Dalton

"Marshall Bern, a computational biologist at PARC in California...said he leaned in support of Asara's collagen analysis. 'Asara has met Pevzner's test,' says Bern. 'All this scrutiny makes the two peptides [that Pevzner verified] look good. And I'm not ready to discount the other five. Contamination is now the issue.'"