The world of Jurassic Park will never be more than a work of fiction. Scientist and researchers have concluded that it is virtually impossible to clone a dinosaur from fossilized DNA like the do in the film. The reason behind this is most fossilized things are too degraded for genetic engineering purposes.
Palaeogeneticists Morten Allentoft at the University of Copenhagen and Michael Bunce at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia have surmised that fossilized DNA has a half-life of approximately 512 years. After that length of time, the DNA will start to degrade due to temperature, degree of microbial attack, and oxygenation. This will speed up the decaying process, making the DNA unusable.
Allentoft and Bunce were studying “158 DNA-containing leg bones belonging to three species of extinct giant birds called moa.” The bones were about 600 and 8,000 years old and were preserved on three separate sites about three miles away from each other.
But cloning isn’t the only thing on the minds of researchers and scientists; they are working to understand dinosaur DNA sequencing of species that are over 65 million years old. At the moment, the oldest authentic DNA sequence is about half a million years old, which is nowhere near the age of dinosaur bones. “This confirms the widely held suspicion that claims of DNA from dinosaurs and ancient insects trapped in amber are incorrect,” says Simon Ho, a computational evolutionary biologist at the University of Sydney in Australia.
But do we really want to clone a dinosaur? As cool as Jurassic Park is, the movie should always be viewed as a cautionary tale.