DNA Transferring between Animals
Country: United States
Date: Fall 2009
In the book MAXIMUM RIDE children's DNA is mixed with 2% avian
DNA .Do you think this could ever happen in real life?
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,
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
No! This is a preposterous idea.
Ron Baker, Ph.D.
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