Don’t worry we ain’t going to be dropping spoilers in here. But… After the success of Jurassic world dominion and it’s ability to capture the imaginations of the masses, we thought it would be a good idea to break down the science behind the cloning of humans and dinosaurs. After reading this the answer to “is Jurassic world possible?” will be blindingly obvious.
Cloning in jurassic world
Throughout the film, we see one of the first transgenic humans, meaning the genetic information of one species is spliced into a human. In effect creating a human-monitor lizard hybrid. What is notable about this mix is the monitor lizard is capable of asexual reproduction. So we can end up having a human capable of reproducing without needing a partner.
Is there a future where we see entirely new species created? We have already been using animal hybrid species. Genetically modified foods are widely consumed. But creating a species from scratch? Spoiler, that has also been done, for single-celled organisms like E-coli. Perhaps in the not to distant future we will see the emergence of animals with no clear connection to any others which have come before. The tree of life begins to drop seeds and the tree’s of life grow…
Let’s break down the core technologies which power the Jurassic world storyline. The crazy thing is science fiction is going to feel more like science after you learn about these technologies.
As for the dinosaurs in Jurassic world, we can’t use DNA from the fossils since DNA can’t last 65 million years. Additionally, O2 atmospheric concentrations are lower now then what was around when dinosaurs were. We can only speculate but this is likely to be restrictive to these creatures since they haven’t evolved the requisite cardiac efficiency. Scientist’s have in fact unburied remnant dinosaur genes in the DNA of chickens so maybe a modern day dinosaur is possible…
Hybrid organisms – transgenic species
Transgenic species are like superheroes in the world of science! Just like how Spider-Man has special powers from a spider bite, transgenic species have had their DNA altered in a specific way to give them unique abilities.
For example, scientists may take a gene from a fish that allows it to survive in very cold water and insert it into a tomato plant. Now the tomato plant can survive in colder temperatures, making it more resilient to harsh weather conditions.
Another example is in agriculture, scientists may insert a gene from a bacillus thuringiensis into the genome of a crop, which will give it the ability to produce a toxin that kills certain pests, but is harmless to people, this is known as BT-crops.
BT-cotton is a special type of cotton has been genetically modified to protect itself from pests and insects, eliminating the need for harmful pesticides. Think of it like a built-in shield that keeps the bad guys away, allowing the cotton plants to grow strong and healthy. This means that farmers can use less money and resources on pest control and instead, focus on other aspects of growing their crop. And just like a superhero, BT-cotton is here to save the day for farmers and the environment!
Just like how Spider-Man uses his powers to save the day, transgenic species are used to help us solve real-world problems like food shortages and crop failures. Transgenic species are the superheroes of the scientific world, working behind the scenes to make our lives better!
Imagine you have a really big, messy room filled with different items and furniture. Now, imagine you want to rearrange this room and get rid of some things that you don’t need or want. But instead of moving things around physically, you have a magic wand that can help you change the layout and get rid of the unwanted items with just a wave.
That magic wand is a lot like Crispr-Cas9. It’s a tool that helps us make changes to our DNA, the blueprint of life. Our DNA is like the big, messy room in this analogy. It’s a long string of letters (A, C, T, G) that make up the instructions for how our cells work and grow. Sometimes these instructions get mixed up or there are extra letters in the wrong place, causing problems like diseases.
Crispr-Cas9 is like a magic wand that can help us fix these mistakes. It can cut and paste specific letters in the DNA, like cutting out the extra letters that shouldn’t be there and pasting in the correct letters. This helps us make precise changes to our DNA, like rearranging the room to make it more functional and getting rid of the unwanted items.
It’s a powerful tool that can help us understand and treat diseases, improve agriculture, and even create new materials and technologies. So, next time you’re trying to clean up a messy room, just think about how Crispr-Cas9 can help us clean up our DNA and make life better.
In fact it is so powerful against genetic diseases that American scientist Jennifer A. Doudna and the French scientist Emmanuelle Charpentier won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. This was to recognise there discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene scissors. Originally a defence mechanism used by virus’ to protect against phages.
Example of sickle cell anaemia
CRISPR-Cas9 is a powerful tool for editing specific genes, and scientists have been exploring its potential for treating sickle cell anemia, which is caused by a mutation in the HBB gene that codes for the beta-globin component of hemoglobin. The mutation leads to the formation of abnormal hemoglobin, which can cause the red blood cells to take on a sickle shape and become stiff and sticky, leading to blocked blood vessels and a host of health problems.
One approach to treating sickle cell anemia using CRISPR-Cas9 is to edit the HBB gene in stem cells to repair the mutation. The edited stem cells could then be transplanted back into the patient, where they could produce normal hemoglobin and healthy red blood cells. Another approach would be to directly edit the HBB gene in the patient’s own cells, however this is currently more theoretical and the methods to do so in vivo are less mature
It’s worth noting that this treatment is still in research phase and clinical trials are in progress. However, it holds a lot of promise and could provide a much-needed cure for a disease that affects millions of people worldwide.
Our current state of cloning – somatic cell nuclear transfer
Sure! Cloning animals by somatic cell nuclear transfer is like making a photocopy of a photocopy. But instead of paper and toner, we’re using living cells and some fancy lab equipment.
First, we start with the “original photocopy” – a somatic cell. This is just a fancy term for a regular body cell, like a skin cell or a muscle cell. We take the “ink” from this cell, which is the nucleus that contains all its DNA, and transfer it into an “empty photocopy machine” – an egg cell.
The egg cell acts as a blank slate, since it has its own nucleus removed. Once the nucleus from the somatic cell is inserted, it gets “turned on” and starts dividing and growing just like a normal fertilized egg would. After some time, voila! You got a brand new photocopy of the original.
And of course, if we take care of the photocopy and let it grow into an embryo, we could get a full grown animal who is genetically identical to the original one ( except for the mitochondrial DNA, that always come from the egg donor ). And that’s somatic cell nuclear transfer in a nutshell!
In conclusion, transgenic species, Crispr-Cas-9 and genetic cloning are all technologies which suggest Jurassic world might not be as far fetched as we thought. How would we do what they did? We wouldn’t because it is considered unethical. How could someone do it? That’s a question you should be able to answer now…
Cloning in jurassic world Questions.
Divergent thinking question:
Think of a potential field which would be improved by developing a transgenic species.
Explain how you would go about creating this new species.
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