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Name: Jackson
Status: Student
Grade:  6-8
Location: TX
Country: United States
Date: Fall 2009


Question:
In the book MAXIMUM RIDE children's DNA is mixed with 2% avian DNA .Do you think this could ever happen in real life?



Replies:
I'm not familiar with the book you cite, but you can't just "mix" DNA -- it would be like throwing two different cars' parts into a pile and expecting them to just fall into being a working car, and having that car be a hybrid of the two cars' whose parts you used.

Except, cells are much, much more complex than cars, so the odds of DNA just "mixing" and working is even smaller. You could take specific genes from one organism and get them to work in another (an example is fluorescent mice that got DNA from jellyfish), but that took a ton more work than just "mixing" the DNA.

Hope this helps,
Burr


I haven't read the book, but I wonder what the purpose was? It is possible to transfer DNA between species. Scientists do it all the time is research. But that doesn't mean that the genes will be expressed. Also, we have only begun to understand what all of the genetic code means, ie. what the genes do, so just transferring random bird DNA wouldn't necessarily get you what you want. Also, most genes are turning out to work with many other genes to produce what appear to be single phenotypes, ie. the ability to fly, or grow wings. It's an incredibly complex system. The other question is: just because we can-should we? It's the classic bioethical dilemma raised in Jurassic Park.

Vanhoeck


No! This is a preposterous idea.

Ron Baker, Ph.D.



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