It has always been known that amber can trap insects, plant parts, and other organic material. Scientists have theorized for a long time that if insects can be so well preserved in Amber, why not DNA as well?

One of the Major problems in getting at the DNA is getting to the delicate insects containing that DNA without damaging them, before need be and not contaminating the sample with DNA from unconfined bacteria already living in the lab.

One of the methods used to get at the soft tissue of insects is the liquid nitrogen treatment method, developed by Hendrik Poincar: (1) N2(l) is poured over an insect bearing piece of Amber. Since Amber is a poor conductor of heat, the outside portion of the Amber cools much quicker then the inside portion, thus producing fracture planes throughout the Amber. When an insect is entombed in Amber, it produces very faint pressure planes within the Amber. These pressure planes become fracture planes when the liquid nitrogen is poured over the specimen. (2) Next, warm saline is poured over the specimen and the resulting sharp, fast increase in temperature causes the fracture planes to break apart. Sometimes these fracture planes break right down through the insect, thus exposing their soft tissue, (on their inside) containing the DNA.