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DNA Chemical Instability

  1. Hendrik Poinar

Published Online: 22 MAR 2002

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0000838



How to Cite

Poinar, H. 2002. DNA Chemical Instability. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 22 MAR 2002


DNA is a relatively unstable molecule that undergoes hydrolytic, oxidative and nonenzymatic degradation. Its instability places limitations on its survival in the geosphere yet enables its rapid repair and turnover in our cells.


  • DNA damage;
  • repair;
  • ancient DNA