Paleontology

Can Scientists Clone Dinosaurs



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When we consider the possibility of cloning a dinosaur, our mind immediately turns to the Jurassic Park film that popularized the idea of dinosaur cloning. The film introduced us to the idea of special dinosaur game parks that could be populated with cloned versions of long dead ancient lizards.

Of course the premise is that one day in the future it will be possible for scientists to clone an exact replica of a dinosaur by taking a DNA fragment from a specimen that holds a piece of viable genetic material. So far scientists have had no luck in locating this most fragile of samples, as most samples have been fossilized into rock, and this process will have destroyed all DNA cells.

Although there is some hope that one day dinosaur blood may be found in the body of an insect entombed in amber, the likelihood of that happening is remote because dinosaurs were instinct during the time period these types of samples come from. However, specimens are being dug up or found every day who knows what may come up in the future?

For example, a team of paleontologists have discovered what appears to be soft tissue in the bones of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. No one was expecting this as it has always been assumed that all material was destroyed during the fossilization process. Although researchers have not been able to retrieve any DNA from the soft tissue, it does give more hope for DNA retrieval in the future.

A much more likely route to go down would be what is known as DNA sequencing which would recreate the DNA strands needed. Although the process has only been completed on the human genome, it is still possible to obtain similar results with other animals. However this is a long process that will take many years and cannot be guaranteed to work. Scientists maintain it can probably be done but we require a level of technology that simply isn't available yet.

Of course if the challenges of DNA retrieval are overcome, there would then be the problem of surrogacy. Where on earth would they find a lizard big enough to carry the developing fetus? Scientists have suggested that in the case of a resurrected mammoth the modern day elephant would be the closest living relative and be a good option, but for other species technology may have to come up with alternative options such as an artificial womb!

In conclusion, we can see that modern technology knows no bounds. With every passing minute scientists are finding ways to further improve and build upon their research by using technologicalical innovations. Who knows where their research may lead to? Perhaps one day we really will have a 'Jurrasic Park' to visit.

I truly hope I will be alive to see it!

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