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Jurassic Coop: Turning Chickens into Dinosaurs?

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posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 03:09 PM
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Canadian Paleontologist Announces Genetic Experiment to Create Dinosaurs from Chickens!


After years spent hunting for the buried remains of prehistoric animals, a Canadian paleontologist now plans to manipulate chicken embryos to show he can create a dinosaur.
Hans Larsson, the Canada Research Chair in Macro Evolution at Montreal's McGill University, said he aims to develop dinosaur traits that disappeared millions of years ago in birds.


Which seems entirely plausible to me.

What we know about the human genome, for example, is that it still contains remnants of early simian, reptilian and even amphibian DNA. There are indeed human cases of "genetic throwback" proving this — a small percentage of humans are born with vestigial tails, scales, webbed digits, and even functional gills. Seemingly, much of our evolutionary history is still contained in our modern human DNA.

More than merely bizarre, this phenomenon hints that modern animal DNA may yet contain the blueprints for other ancient and extinct species. Such as Dinosaurs!

I say go for it. If we can prove that dinosaurs can be engineered out of living avian DNA, then it makes the Jurassic Park method of DNA recovery thoroughly obsolete. If we can, in fact, bring ancestral genetic traits to the surface, then we may see a completely new era of animal and human evolution.

Imagine humans "back-engineered" to live and breathe underwater, for instance. Imagine super-strength humans, flying humans, humans engineered with their own ancestral DNA for every sort of environment and task. Scary, but exciting.

— Doc Velocity




posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 03:12 PM
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There was a show on Discovery about this. My son would be first in line for a chicken size dino-pet.



posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 03:26 PM
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Didn't they watch jurrasic park? Dinosaurs don't make good pets!



posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 03:30 PM
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(Before I begin, let me say I despise the way your post extends the screen horizontally. Might want to fix that.)

This is old news. The manipulation of present-day avian DNA with pieces of dinosaur DNA found preserved in mosquitoes form that era (how many millennia will we have to contend with those blood-suckers!?!) was the basis for the first Jurassic Park movie and for the first Carnosaur movie before that. Even then, it was not exactly new.

The concept is based on the belief that the modern birds are direct descendants of the dinosaurs, specifically the raptors. While it makes more sense than any other present theory in the context of Evolutionary theory, this is still far from proven. The second problem is that we do not yet have a firm grasp of how DNA coding works. We know some of the genes responsible for some traits, but there is more to it than just splicing in a new gene to see what happens.

Many people have this idea that by altering one gene, the color of one's eyes, or hair, or the length of their tongue will be adjusted. This is only partially true. The purpose of DNA is not so much to give a cell a way to see what it is supposed to do, but rather it operates as a regulator to determine the timing and amount of amino acids to be produced during the life process. It is these amino acids that cause a cell to behave in certain ways, and the entire sequence of events contributing to this operation is not entirely understood. More than one individual gene may be responsible for a given trait, and some of these genes may work in conjunction with several other genes to accomplish more than one thing. A change in this arrangement could more likely reveal something that isn't even capable of existing than something that is better or faster or bigger.

Another consideration is that, while there are throwback genes, do living organisms contain all the genes from their ancestry? We have no way to know this for sure at the present.

Perhaps in a few months we will hear about the birth of a baby T-Rex or Velociraptor, in which case within a year we will probably hear about the death of many zookeepers.
If this is the case, so be it. But it has been being worked on for many a year now, and this appears to be just one more attempt doomed to failure like all those who tried before.

TheRedneck



posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 03:57 PM
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Originally posted by TheRedneck
...this appears to be just one more attempt doomed to failure like all those who tried before.

The fictional Jurassic Park scenario was never plausible, for starters, by virtue of the fact that no intact DNA has ever been discovered in those mosquitoes trapped in amber. Why the recently deceased science fiction author Michael Crichton chose to combine his impossibly-obtained dinosaur DNA with frog DNA is also a mystery to me — amphibian DNA is about as far-removed from dinosaur DNA as it is from human DNA. Crichton was usually more scrupulous in his scientific authenticity.

However, there is no scientific reason why we cannot amplify or "switch on" the ancestral DNA in existing organisms. We do not need actual samples of dinosaur DNA. As I mentioned earlier, genetic throw-backs occur all the time, revealing bizarre and ancient physiological traits in both animals and humans. All we need do is isolate and manipulate those genes that trigger the throw-back phenomenon, and this is well within our technological capability.

— Doc Velocity



posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 04:13 PM
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Originally posted by Chovy
Didn't they watch jurrasic park? Dinosaurs don't make good pets!


From a chicken? I don't think it would make a very big dinosaur. If I can handle a dwarf cayman, I can handle a dwarf dinosaur.



posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 04:45 PM
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Here is a video related to this discussion.

dsc.discovery.com...

Enjoy!



posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 05:26 PM
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reply to post by Doc Velocity

The fictional Jurassic Park scenario was never plausible, for starters, by virtue of the fact that no intact DNA has ever been discovered in those mosquitoes trapped in amber.

I noticed you made sure to label Jurassic Park as "fictional". Have no fear; I am well aware of what fiction is. I used the movie in my reply not for it's scientific veracity (it had little to none), but to emphasize that even when it was made many years ago, this idea of using DNA manipulation to create extinct creatures via cloning was already being considered.

Now, as to this having no basis in scientific fact:

Preservation in amber seemed to offer a reasonable option and there were several reports, including the one in 1992, that claimed that DNA fragments had been recovered from insects that had died between 25 and 125 million years ago.
Source: www.nhm.ac.uk...

Apparently there have been DNA fragments recovered from preserved insects. The problem has never been one of how to get fully-functional DNA, as such is clearly highly unlikely if not outright impossible due to the ease at which unprotected DNA breaks down, but rather one of knowing which bits of preserved DNA were necessary and which could be substituted from other sources (such as frogs or chickens). Heck, we can't even be sure which fragments belong to which creature. It's a bit like pulling burnt pieces of paper from a fire and trying to reassemble a library.

As far as the genetic throwbacks, I have already admitted that these genes exist. I only question whether all of the necessary genes exist to create, say, a Utah Raptor. Some could have mutated to something entirely new, and some might have even disappeared completely over time. Just because you find one wheel off a deserted Model "A" Ford car it does not necessarily mean the rest is there if you dig enough. Parts can rust away and disappear.

It is entirely possible that this scientist could manage to create something that looks like a dinosaur and acts like a dinosaur. But will it really be the same type of creature that roamed the earth so long ago? how will we even know if it is or isn't?

TheRedneck



posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 06:19 PM
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For that matter, how do we know what we think we know about dinosaurs in the first place? It's all a monumental edifice of theory, supplemented only by a few handfuls of stone that resemble dinosaur skeletons. Granted, an organic bit of mummified T-Rex was discovered some years ago, underscoring our lack of understanding of the fossilization process. Still, even that titillating discovery yielded no recognizable, nevermind useful, DNA.

Point being, with exact genetic information forever beyond our reach, what does it matter if we "engineer" custom dinosaurs to our own preferences and specifications? Those who accomplish the feat will still make a fortune, regardless of the genetic authenticity of the resulting monster.

And who's to argue the point? Perhaps only a time traveler capable of comparing living specimens of the Cretaceous with our imaginative fabrications of the 21st Century.

— Doc Velocity



posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 07:02 PM
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reply to post by Doc Velocity

Heh. I'd have a hard time disagreeing with anything in that post, Doc.

So I won't.


TheRedneck




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