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Name: strountree
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Question:
Can the steps taken in Jurassic Park,(the movie) be done in real life?



Replies:
I can only give a personal observation here. We are really at the time on the cutting edge of DNA research regarding these topics. More often, as the scientist in the movie stated, we get so involved in the 'could' of DNA research, but we must continue asking ourselves if we 'should'. There are clearly moral/social issues involved in DNA research, and, given the ever increasing costs of research versus ever dwindling research dollars, I suspect research geared more towards improving our existence rather than bringing back ancient creatures for reasons which cannot be clearly shown to benefit our lives now will be followed.

I suspect given a pure preserved sample of dinosaur blood, perhaps from an amber-entombed mosquito, and given the technology of 'filling-in' missing DNA segments, that indeed the cloning would be possible. For what purpose, however? Better, in my opinion, to spend limited dollars on finding genetic causes of birth defects, heart disease, and cancer, along with a host of other debilitating illnesses like arthritis and diabetes.

Thanks for using NEWTON!
Ric


I think that Ric is over-optimistic in thinking that the Jurassic Park experiments could be made to work now. Even if we did clone all of the genome of a dinosaur - and remember, we haven't yet done this for any vertebrate species that is readily available, much less one with very limited sample -- We would not know how to put those pieces together into the correct order - that the order is key to proper regulation, which is key to proper development. No, I don't' think we're even close to that dream yet. Ric's other comments on research priority and resources are more of a moral or political nature - and are worth careful and thoughtful discussion.


I agree that bringing back extinct species is not currently possible. I also do not believe it will be possible in the foreseeable future. Even if the information in the DNA could be retrieved and "filled in" (which is not currently possible), we would still not have the developmental information that is stored in the female gamete or egg. This information comes from the mother and requires the existence of a previous generation. Remember that the experiments in which cattle have been cloned involved transplanting nuclei from one individual into egg cells in which the has been destroyed. The developmental information in the egg cell is crucial to normal development. Unless an intact egg cell could be found or synthesized, Jurassic Park will remain on hold.

Brian Schwartz



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