Currently, these techniques are used to estimate the age of fossils, determine the life span of bowhead whales, and detect evidence of extraterrestrial life.
By conducting aspartic acid racemization measurements using an HPLC/fluorescence detection method, Bada analyzed the bowheads eye lenses to estimate the whales age at the time of death (2).
The eye lens of a bowhead whale is made up of dozens of layers of protein, much like an onion.
By measuring the progression of amino acid racemization in these samples, researchers can assess whether nucleic acid analysis would be productive.
Depurination, a hydrolytic reaction, is the primary cause of nucleic acid degradation, and racemization is affected by some of the factors that influence this process.
Jurassic Racemization In addition to studying animal life span, Bada also applied racemization analysis to the search for genetic material in ancient fossil and tissue samples.