• Question: if someone manages to take the genes from a fossil can they create that dinosaur using scientifical methods

    Asked by afrikaaner to Meeks, Pete, Stephen, Steve, Tom on 22 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Tom Hartley

      Tom Hartley answered on 18 Jun 2010:

      Not yet. That did happen in the movie Jurassic Park, but they used dinosaur blood from a prehistoric mosquito preserved in amber. I think it’s very hard to get decent amounts of dinosaur DNA from fossils or other remains – the fragments are not enough to recreate the entire genome (I don’t know where this is coming from – maybe I am making it up). There would be many other problems to overcome in order to recreate a dinosaur. I have a feeling that this one may actually happen one day though – if it becomes feasible scientists will find it hard to resist. Just a hunch. I hope they don’t get out – the dinosaurs I mean.

    • Photo: Stephen Curry

      Stephen Curry answered on 18 Jun 2010:

      Hey Afrikaaner – have you been watching Jurassic park? 😉

      This isn’t possible yet though it might yet come! Two things will be needed – the ability to extract *intact* DNA from a dinosaur fossil. This might be the most difficult step since I’m not sure that DNA is tough enough to have survived all those millions of years (although some fragments will have).

      The second step will be to transfer that DNA into a living cell. Co-incidentally something like this has just been reported on a much smaller scale. The DNA from one bacteria was created (clever chemistry) and then inserted into a bacterial cell that it proceeded to take over. When the bacterium divided the daughter cells only had the new DNA.

      So which dino would you re-create if you could?

    • Photo: Pete Edwards

      Pete Edwards answered on 21 Jun 2010:

      I’m no expert on this but as I understand it although some fragments of the DNA may remain undamaged the majority of it genetic information coded in the DNA will not have survived when the fossil dinosaur was created.

    • Photo: Marieke Navin

      Marieke Navin answered on 22 Jun 2010:

      Like they did in Jurassic Park? I have found a brilliant website called “how to make a dinosaur” that basically answers this question. You can check it out here but I will summarise http://www.unmuseum.org/dnadino.htm.
      It basically says that it’s really hard to get all of the DNA from a fossil as DNA is quite fragile and destroys over time. If we could do it, the next hard part is using the blueprint to actually create a dinosaur, but without a dinosaur egg – would an ostrich one do? Not sure. Would we be able to raise the dino? Possibly. Check out the website for the full story – it is fascinating! thanks for asking that