Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Dino-Chicken--Not of the Nugget Variety

With the recent Jurassic World movie, even this generation's young people know about the disastrous outcome of when scientists "play god" and create a park full of dinosaurs. Despite this, dinosaur breeding may be closer than one may think. The Indominous rex was one of the unlikely stars of the recent Jurrasic World movie, for a good reason. While fossilized dinosaur DNA that is still viable has yet to be found, remnants of the prehistoric code that existed in dinosaurs still exists in chickens today. Quoted in an article on livescience, James Horner, the inspiration for the original Jurassic Park's Alan Grant, says, "Chickens and all birds are carrying much bigger chunks of dinosaur DNA than we are ever likely to find in the fossil record." He believes that, because DNA tends to come apart after a cell dies, there wouldn't be anything left after millions of years.
However, in a bird, there may be enough groundwork and prehistoric DNA that they could be essentially reverted to resemble a dinosaur. It's already been proven that birds can be transgenically created to have teeth and a team from Yale and Harvard recently retro-engineered a bird's beak to look like a dinosaur-looking mouth. Horner believes that all that is left is to recreate the tails and transform the wings back into an arm and hand. He admits a miniature dinosaur may be about ten years off.
While this is scary, much like Grant I would love my own miniature pet dinosaur, but I do believe this whole exercise would anger people who are traditionally against GMOs. This involved completely modifying an organism to create something completely different which leaves a weird taste in my mouth.


  1. This is extremely cool and at the same time frightening. Like you said this generation gathers that this only has a disastrous effect by watching all the Jurassic Park Movies. These movies are obviously completely fictional, but either way it's enough to link genetically engineered dinosaurs with fear. Still really cool to hear though! Also, apparently contrary to popular opinion, I really liked the latest Jurassic World Movie! I hope to hear more about this as the experiments progress!

    1. I agree! I think it is so clever that they took the path of altering the genome of a known member of the family instead of the classic science fiction approach which is looking for nonexistent DNA fragments. While the latter is hard for me to wrap my mind around as being a possibility, the former makes a lot of sense to me! I think people would be uncomfortable with such highly genetically modified organisms running around, but as the article says, it's not much different from putting green flourescent protein in goldfish or other organisms, for example.