Scientists Are Working Hard To Create a Jurassic World
Everyone remembers that scene in the original Jurassic Park where the guy gets eaten by a huge Tyrannosaurus Rex while he’s using the john. Well, that scene could very well become a real story we all hear on the news in the next few years.
If that sounds like too much of a stretch for you, consider this: a renowned paleontologist and consultant for the Jurassic Park series is currently leading a genetic research project which is geared towards reengineering dinosaurs for real. On top of that, his team thinks they have found the “Easy Button” for it.
The Man with the Master Plan
Dr. Jack Horner, who also happens to be a professor at Montana State University, spells out the details of a procedure that is designed to effectively revive the massive reptilian beasts of yore. All this is accomplished through the use of genetic tampering, of course.
At first, Dr. Horner believed that, just as it is displayed in the Jurassic Park series, the secret to recreating dinosaurs was to isolate and manipulate their ancient DNA. However, further studies have since proven his initial theory to be a miscalculation.
Still, the research team, for whatever reason, did not give up trying. Joining forces with scientists from Harvard and Yale, Horner and his associates began concentrating on the DNA code of the modern day chicken – a direct and natural descendant. Even NBC is jumping on the “WTF” bandwagon for this one.
So far, our renegade DNA experts have openly listed four main components which differentiate the land-dwelling dinosaur and the bird species: the tail, the arms/wings, the hands/talons, and the mouths/beaks. Apparently, those genetic gaps are not as difficult to close as we once thought.
How It’s Going Down
Horner and his cronies have already been able to freely change specific genetic markers in chicken embryos. This has also given them the ability to reverse engineer the beak into a dinosaur-like snout.
With a quarter of the problem solved, Horner’s team admits that tampering with the genetics of the tail is the hardest part of the project. Regardless, they all remain confident that his lovingly dubbed “Chickensaurus” is close to being completely created.
In the attempt to play God and reverse evolution, the research team is essentially mutating their chicken volunteers right back into the creatures from which they descended. Scientists have been hard at work on this kind of thing for a while now.
Last September, Siberian researchers tried to resurrect a woolly mammoth by inserting its genes into a live elephant embryo. According to those scientists, the reason for such delicate and controversial projects is apparently simple: because studying ancient DNA and its modern genetic contrasts can give us amazing insights into the past.
Blurring the Lines between Sci-Fi and Reality
What happens in a science fiction movie is entertaining because it defies the rules of nature and redefines reality. However, when we start bringing sci-fi into our everyday lives, that’s when things have the potential to get kind of nasty.
“Our goal here is to understand the molecular underpinnings of an important evolutionary transition,” say Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar and Arhat Abzhanov, lead scientists on the genetic chickensaurus project. There are many questions left unanswered by this study, and still many more being raised.
If reverse engineering a bird’s beak can help to reveal evolutionary transitions, what will we do once we have found the answers we seek? Once we discover our true origins will we be pleased by our findings, or will our tampering with the natural order of things come back to bite us – literally?