Science Officially Stomps All Hope of Dinosaur Cloning

 Pages 1 2 3 4 NEXT
 

Science Officially Stomps All Hope of Dinosaur Cloning

image

Life has found a way ... to destroy the dreams of every man, woman, and child.

A wise man once described the universe thusly: "God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs." But unfortunately for prominent chaotician Dr. Ian Malcom, Science, harsh mistress that she is, has recently proven at least part of the sentiment false. As it happens, mankind will likely never bring dinosaurs into the modern age, courtesy of amber-coated mosquitoes or otherwise. Unlike handcrafted dinosaur animatronics, it turns out that DNA just can't stand the test of time.

It was a neat idea and, this particular disappointing DNA factoid aside, a somewhat practical one: An insect drinks the blood of a dinosaur, becomes preserved in petrified tree sap, and lo and behold, millions of years later, we use the same procedure we used on that boring old sheep Dolly to make everyone and their uncle a pet Iguanacolossus. For years, the problem has been finding any DNA that's still intact, and while the scientific community has always had a fairly strong idea that dino-blueprints couldn't weather the ages, some jerk with a PhD in Australia had to go and pinch the proverbial flame of hope into a smoldering ember of despair once and for all.

The study was led by Morten Allentofy and Michael Bunce (who I'm sure are perfectly nice, and probably didn't mean to suck the wind from our dino sails like some sort of joy-sucking vacuum monster) and involved a detailed examination of 158 moa leg bones. Each of the bones were chock-full of DNA, and found within 5 kilometers of each other, preserved in near-identical condition. For years, determining the lifespan of DNA has been difficult, due to multiple variables of decay, including temperate, oxygenation, and microbial attack. With such a consistent sample, however, Allentofy and Bunce were able to finally peg DNA half-life at just 521 years. That means that every 521 years, 50% of the bonds holding the DNA together will have broken, and in 521 more years, half of what's remaining will do the same.

As you half and half, the decay exponentially slows, but not enough to survive the trip from Cretaceous Period to the Age of Honey Boo Boo. Extrapolated out, the longest DNA can survive is a paltry 6.8 million years, a far cry from last time a T-Rex had a pleasant afternoon, probably some 65 million years ago.

"This confirms the widely held suspicion that claims of DNA from dinosaurs and ancient insects trapped in amber are incorrect," said Simon Ho, awesome dinosaur scientist at the University of Sydney Australia. And while these findings basically rule out ever cloning domesticated dinosaurs as the obvious transportation solution to solve the oil crisis, according to Ho, at least "we might be able to break the record for the oldest authentic DNA sequence, which currently stands at about half a million years."

So yeah, there's hope of one day breaking the record for oldest deposit of decaying acid! That's totally awesome, and completely makes up for us never seeing dinosaurs! Right? Right? Come on people, I'm grasping at anything here.

Source: Nature.com

Permalink

Eh, we can still probably genetically engineer some dinosaurs, it just means that the JP method is unscientific nonsense. Which most scientists knew anyways.

Well this sux :(
I always wanted a rel life Jurrasic Park.
Maybe it's safer this way...

Can we at least get a wooly mammoth or a sabertooth tiger as a consolation prize?! ='(

Aw.

But I wanted to see Velociraptors.

Oh well. Time to get to work on that time-machine (Gobi-desert 73 million years ago, here I come).

Awwwwww^10

Ironically we were talking about this in Biology today along with Stem Cells since they can form any type of cell, well only some can. Basically you'd need the DNA of dinosaurs to be able to clone them and according to my professor DNA only lasts 600 years after you died. While it is sad we can't get ourselves some dinos on the bright side we can still revive Lincoln, Washington, and Teddy Roosevelt and have them battle against terrorism. XD

captcha: Cool Squirrel. What's with all the squirrel captchas I'm getting? Last one I got was Lincoln Squirrel.

Froggy Slayer:
Eh, we can still probably genetically engineer some dinosaurs, it just means that the JP method is unscientific nonsense. Which most scientists knew anyways.

That's true - we've already started guiding ancestral evolutionary traits in chickens to reverse engineer them into dinosaurs. Still, Chickenosaurus Rex will just never be quite the same. And no, the JP methodology wasn't quite nonsense, which leads me to this:

Scorpid:
Can we at least get a wooly mammoth or a sabertooth tiger as a consolation prize?! ='(

Yes, we can!! Mammoths have only been extinct for about 10,000 years, so their DNA is still in perfectly workable condition. This post is a bit old, but we've recently made great strides in this exact experiment. We haven't gotten started on Smilodons yet (to my knowledge), but since they disappeared only 12,000 years ago, they're technically possible as well.

Science can be cruel, but it is what it is. We shall truly never see their kind again.

I feel that the universe is a poorer place for it. They should have evolved to invent helicopters, not us. We're lame.

This makes me pretty sad. Now I won't be able to get that Compsognathus I've always wanted T.T

Agreed with people above - we'll just fill in the missing DNA when we're smarter and can do that.

Or, you know, dumber... because I was 10 when Jurassic Park came out, and dinosaurs still terrify me. In a good way. .... The pipes here at my work are so old they sound like a T-Rex when someone flushes a toilet and it's awesome very time I hear it at my desk.

... Yes, flushing a toilet is fun.

image
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Well that Rex one of my plans for world domination >(

Mike Kayatta:

Froggy Slayer:
Eh, we can still probably genetically engineer some dinosaurs, it just means that the JP method is unscientific nonsense. Which most scientists knew anyways.

That's true - we've already started guiding ancestral evolutionary traits in chickens to reverse engineer them into dinosaurs. Still, Chickenosaurus Rex will just never be quite the same. And no, the JP methodology wasn't quite nonsense, which leads me to this:

Scorpid:
Can we at least get a wooly mammoth or a sabertooth tiger as a consolation prize?! ='(

Yes, we can!! Mammoths have only been extinct for about 10,000 years, so their DNA is still in perfectly workable condition. This post is a bit old, but we've recently made great strides in this exact experiment. We haven't gotten started on Smilodons yet (to my knowledge), but since they disappeared only 12,000 years ago, they're technically possible as well.

According to Wikipedia, mammoths went extinct 4,500 years ago. I did some maths and worked out that this means that the most recent mammoth fossil will only have approximately 0.2% of its original DNA still remaining. Is that enough to clone with?

Nasrin:

This makes me pretty sad. Now I won't be able to get that Compsognathus I've always wanted T.T

I'll join in on that.

image

It is truly a sad day, when my dreams of riding a T-Rex to work are doomed.

The Plunk:

Mike Kayatta:

Froggy Slayer:
Eh, we can still probably genetically engineer some dinosaurs, it just means that the JP method is unscientific nonsense. Which most scientists knew anyways.

That's true - we've already started guiding ancestral evolutionary traits in chickens to reverse engineer them into dinosaurs. Still, Chickenosaurus Rex will just never be quite the same. And no, the JP methodology wasn't quite nonsense, which leads me to this:

Scorpid:
Can we at least get a wooly mammoth or a sabertooth tiger as a consolation prize?! ='(

Yes, we can!! Mammoths have only been extinct for about 10,000 years, so their DNA is still in perfectly workable condition. This post is a bit old, but we've recently made great strides in this exact experiment. We haven't gotten started on Smilodons yet (to my knowledge), but since they disappeared only 12,000 years ago, they're technically possible as well.

According to Wikipedia, mammoths went extinct 4,500 years ago. I did some maths and worked out that this means that the most recent mammoth fossil will only have approximately 0.2% of its original DNA still remaining. Is that enough to clone with?

The thing about mammoths is that we're finding much more intact, frozen ones Which means that the DNA is more intact. It still might be difficult to create a mammoth from these, but it's in the 'possible' category.

The Plunk:

Mike Kayatta:

Froggy Slayer:
Eh, we can still probably genetically engineer some dinosaurs, it just means that the JP method is unscientific nonsense. Which most scientists knew anyways.

That's true - we've already started guiding ancestral evolutionary traits in chickens to reverse engineer them into dinosaurs. Still, Chickenosaurus Rex will just never be quite the same. And no, the JP methodology wasn't quite nonsense, which leads me to this:

Scorpid:
Can we at least get a wooly mammoth or a sabertooth tiger as a consolation prize?! ='(

Yes, we can!! Mammoths have only been extinct for about 10,000 years, so their DNA is still in perfectly workable condition. This post is a bit old, but we've recently made great strides in this exact experiment. We haven't gotten started on Smilodons yet (to my knowledge), but since they disappeared only 12,000 years ago, they're technically possible as well.

According to Wikipedia, mammoths went extinct 4,500 years ago. I did some maths and worked out that this means that the most recent mammoth fossil will only have approximately 0.2% of its original DNA still remaining. Is that enough to clone with?

Don't forget that mammoths and smilodons inhabited places that are now encased in ice, and I guess deep freezing prolongs life of DNA
I might be wrong, but it makes sense

Froggy Slayer:

The Plunk:

Mike Kayatta:

That's true - we've already started guiding ancestral evolutionary traits in chickens to reverse engineer them into dinosaurs. Still, Chickenosaurus Rex will just never be quite the same. And no, the JP methodology wasn't quite nonsense, which leads me to this:

Yes, we can!! Mammoths have only been extinct for about 10,000 years, so their DNA is still in perfectly workable condition. This post is a bit old, but we've recently made great strides in this exact experiment. We haven't gotten started on Smilodons yet (to my knowledge), but since they disappeared only 12,000 years ago, they're technically possible as well.

According to Wikipedia, mammoths went extinct 4,500 years ago. I did some maths and worked out that this means that the most recent mammoth fossil will only have approximately 0.2% of its original DNA still remaining. Is that enough to clone with?

The thing about mammoths is that we're finding much more intact, frozen ones Which means that the DNA is more intact. It still might be difficult to create a mammoth from these, but it's in the 'possible' category.

I'm not certain, but isn't the article referring to the atomic half life of DNA? I don't think radioactive decay is affected by changes in temperature (well, except for extremely low or high kelvin).

Edited to quote this guy as well:

blackrave:

The Plunk:

Mike Kayatta:

That's true - we've already started guiding ancestral evolutionary traits in chickens to reverse engineer them into dinosaurs. Still, Chickenosaurus Rex will just never be quite the same. And no, the JP methodology wasn't quite nonsense, which leads me to this:

Yes, we can!! Mammoths have only been extinct for about 10,000 years, so their DNA is still in perfectly workable condition. This post is a bit old, but we've recently made great strides in this exact experiment. We haven't gotten started on Smilodons yet (to my knowledge), but since they disappeared only 12,000 years ago, they're technically possible as well.

According to Wikipedia, mammoths went extinct 4,500 years ago. I did some maths and worked out that this means that the most recent mammoth fossil will only have approximately 0.2% of its original DNA still remaining. Is that enough to clone with?

Don't forget that mammoths and smilodons inhabited places that are now encased in ice, and I guess deep freezing prolongs life of DNA
I might be wrong, but it makes sense

Yeah, could re-engineer them, but that just wouldn't be the same.
Maybe travel back via time machine, or time-space rift, get a sample and clone them.
Or an encounter with some space-dinosauers, not the same as cloned dinosauers, but i think that would be nice too. You know the Dinosaucers? Oh yeah!

The Plunk:

Mike Kayatta:

Froggy Slayer:
Eh, we can still probably genetically engineer some dinosaurs, it just means that the JP method is unscientific nonsense. Which most scientists knew anyways.

That's true - we've already started guiding ancestral evolutionary traits in chickens to reverse engineer them into dinosaurs. Still, Chickenosaurus Rex will just never be quite the same. And no, the JP methodology wasn't quite nonsense, which leads me to this:

Scorpid:
Can we at least get a wooly mammoth or a sabertooth tiger as a consolation prize?! ='(

Yes, we can!! Mammoths have only been extinct for about 10,000 years, so their DNA is still in perfectly workable condition. This post is a bit old, but we've recently made great strides in this exact experiment. We haven't gotten started on Smilodons yet (to my knowledge), but since they disappeared only 12,000 years ago, they're technically possible as well.

According to Wikipedia, mammoths went extinct 4,500 years ago. I did some maths and worked out that this means that the most recent mammoth fossil will only have approximately 0.2% of its original DNA still remaining. Is that enough to clone with?

Well, the extinction date totally depends on the species of mammoth, of which there were many. DNA half-life is tricky because though it may technically be intact, as you alluded to, there's still the question of usability. As I mentioned in the post, we can find (hypothetically) DNA going back 6.8 million years (though, to date, our best find is .5 million), but usability dries up at around 1.6 million. So, yes, that puts mammoths well within range of cloning potential, 4,500 years old, 10,000 years old, or otherwise. :) Still, it's not quite as simple as "hey, here's a bone!" then two years later "hey, here's a mammoth," but the possibility is there, yes.

The Plunk:

Froggy Slayer:

The Plunk:

According to Wikipedia, mammoths went extinct 4,500 years ago. I did some maths and worked out that this means that the most recent mammoth fossil will only have approximately 0.2% of its original DNA still remaining. Is that enough to clone with?

The thing about mammoths is that we're finding much more intact, frozen ones Which means that the DNA is more intact. It still might be difficult to create a mammoth from these, but it's in the 'possible' category.

I'm not certain, but isn't the article referring to the atomic half life of DNA? I don't think radioactive decay is affected by changes in temperature (well, except for extremely low or high kelvin).

Edited to quote this guy as well:

blackrave:

The Plunk:

According to Wikipedia, mammoths went extinct 4,500 years ago. I did some maths and worked out that this means that the most recent mammoth fossil will only have approximately 0.2% of its original DNA still remaining. Is that enough to clone with?

Don't forget that mammoths and smilodons inhabited places that are now encased in ice, and I guess deep freezing prolongs life of DNA
I might be wrong, but it makes sense

With the Mammoths, we have most of, if not the entire body preserved in the ice. The study was only concerning skeletal tissue.

What.
No.
Science.
Stahp.

Seriously, way to poop on our dreams of one day riding dinosaurs to work. We still got mammoths and fairly recent extinct species I guess. Dodo birds and saber tooth cats for all!

We could do it if we used time travel, a large syringe, and a zoologist with balls of steel.

Well, you just wait, science! When we invent time travel we'll get dino DNA straight from- wait you disproved time travel as well didn't you? WHY

Science has failed me for the last time.

This saddens me to no end...
I'm bordering on 18 years old so I was wondering at what point my childhood would die.
This is that point.
DAMN YOU SCIENCE!

Froggy Slayer:

With the Mammoths, we have most of, if not the entire body preserved in the ice. The study was only concerning skeletal tissue.

But surely all DNA molecules have the same half-life? Unless you mean that a totally preserved corpse will have more DNA, so we can piece it all together to hopefully make a complete mammoth genome?

Nasrin:

This makes me pretty sad. Now I won't be able to get that Compsognathus I've always wanted T.T

fear not! we still have the arts of robotics.
in 10 years you will look out the window and think:

wow these times we live in are pure
image
because your mind will be blown...

Froggy Slayer:
Eh, we can still probably genetically engineer some dinosaurs, it just means that the JP method is unscientific nonsense. Which most scientists knew anyways.

Pretty much this. It's amazing how black and white the world seems one day, and how grey it is the next. I am sure iPads could meet the same stipulations for 'never going to happen sci-fi nonsense' as early as 30-40 years ago, when they had no basis to fathom how such technology could ever truly come into existence. After all, how could you possibly make a computer that small and thin? Where would the giant motherboard go? lol
Hell, go back not many more years and that iPad might even be considered magic.

Fine then! We'll just make a time machine and nab a T-rex that way, screw you science!

The Plunk:

I'm not certain, but isn't the article referring to the atomic half life of DNA? I don't think radioactive decay is affected by changes in temperature (well, except for extremely low or high kelvin).

Half life in this case is referring to the time taken to break the chemical bonds that forms double helix of DNA. So in 521 years half of the bonds in the backbone have broken. However seeing that DNA is a very big molecule the fragments should be enough to work out what the original structure for much longer. They estimate that after 1.5 million years the fragments would be too small to able to reconstruct the original.

blackrave:

Don't forget that mammoths and smilodons inhabited places that are now encased in ice, and I guess deep freezing prolongs life of DNA
I might be wrong, but it makes sense

To a point yes, anything below -5C will also cause damage. Hydrogen bonds from water ice will start incorporate DNA into the ice crystals, again causing the DNA to breakdown.

Shinsei-J:
This saddens me to no end...
I'm bordering on 18 years old so I was wondering at what point my childhood would die.
This is that point.
DAMN YOU SCIENCE!

mine died when i watched showgirls for the first time.

"hey whats Jessie Spano doing in this movi- OH GOD MY CHILDHOOD!!! D:"

So I've been hanging on to my butt this whole time for nothing? Nothing??

 Pages 1 2 3 4 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here