George Poinar, Jr.
|George O. Poinar, Jr.|
April 25, 1936 |
Washington, United States
|Institutions||University of California, Berkeley|
|Alma mater||Cornell University|
George O. Poinar, Jr. (born April 25, 1936) is an entomologist and writer. He is known for popularizing the idea of extracting DNA from insects fossilized in amber, an idea which received widespread attention when adapted by Michael Crichton for the book and movie Jurassic Park.
Poinar earned a BS and MS at Cornell University, and remained there for his doctoral studies, receiving a PhD in biology in 1962. He spent many of his years of research at University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Entomology, Division of Insect Pathology.
There, and during travels around the globe, he performed research on the axenic culture of nematodes, nematode parasites of insects and the fossil records of insects and nematodes in amber.
In 1992 a team consisting of Poinar, his wife, his son Hendrik, and Dr. Raúl J. Cano of California Polytechnic State University successfully extracted insect DNA from a Lebanese weevil in amber that was 125 million years old, but more recent studies of ancient DNA cast doubt on the results.
In 1995, Poinar moved to Oregon, and with his wife Roberta Poinar, a fellow researcher from Berkeley, opened the Amber Institute. Upon his move to Oregon he received a courtesy appointment to the Department of Entomology of Oregon State University.
- Life in Amber (1992), a summary of the varied forms of insect and other life found in amber.
- Amplification and sequencing of DNA from a 120-135-million-year-old weevil (1993)
- The Quest for Life in Amber (1994)
- The Amber Forest: A Reconstruction of a Vanished World (1999), co-authored with Roberta Poinar
- Lebanese Amber: The Oldest Insect Ecosystem in Fossilized Resin, (2001)
- Hebsgaard, Martin B.; Phillips, Matthew J.; Willerslev, Eske (2005), "Geologically ancient DNA: fact or artefact?", Trends in Microbiology 13 (5): 212–220, doi:10.1016/j.tim.2005.03.010, PMID 15866038
- Poinar, Jr (and Poinar), George (and Roberta) (2008). What Bugged the Dinosaurs?: Insects, disease, and death in the Cretaceous. Princeton University Press.
- The Amber Institute
- National Geographic article on Dr. Poinar's discovery of 100 million year old Bee
- MSNBC article on Dr. Poinar's discovery of 100 million year old Bee
- Works by or about George Poinar, Jr. in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
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