Jurassic Park

Michael Hynes hynes at acs.ucalgary.ca
Tue Mar 7 23:41:51 EST 1995


In article <3jie1f$4gh at newsbf02.news.aol.com>, stevegou at aol.com (Steve
Gou) wrote:

> For a school project I need to find out which parts in the movie or book
> Jurassic Park are possible in real life.  If anyone has any clues, please
> e-mail me.  Thanks for the help.

According to a fellow who was a consultant to Michael Crichton, and who studies
amber at a University in California (unfortunately I can't remember his name
but he gave a seminar in our department two years ago) very little if 
anything is possible with current technology.

The amber used in the movie (Dominican republic) is not old enough for 
Dinosaurs and the largest piece of DNA so far isolated from such amber is about
1 kb which is insignificant. Sequencing DNA from (putative) dinosaurs would
take ages even with the best machines currently available; the human genome
project is far from finished and has cost a fortune. each new dinosaur would
be a whole new project equivalent to the HGP.  And finally the bit about 
filling in DNA with DNA from amphibians is utter nonsense. Life is too
sophisticated for such facile solutions. 

The part of the book which annoyed me as a scientist the most was the 
introduction which suggested that all of us molecular geneticists are a) 
receiving large amounts of money from industry (unfortunately not true) and b) 
immoral monsters who will do anything to make a buck (also not even
remotely true). 

I could go on and on about other flaws in the book (which was better than the 
movie). Suffice it to say that although very entertaining , they were, from the
point of view of a geneticist, very far from reality.


Michael Hynes,  Associate Professor



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