Is Jurassic Park becoming reality?

For the first time scientists has been able to study restoration of extinct non-coding DNA and examination of its function in vivo (experimentation done in or on the living tissue of a whole, living organism). In other words ancient DNA from an extinct spice has come alive.

This is described in the article Resurrection of DNA Function In Vivo from an Extinct Genome written by Andrew J. Pask, Richard R. Behringer and Marilyn B. Renfree, published at Plosone they have successfully been able to resurrect a genome of an extinct marsupial, the Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus or thylacine), obtained from 100 year-old ethanol-fixed tissues from museum collections, in a mice.

By using a transgenic approach, they managed to resurrect the DNA function in a transgenic mouse. As I understand it a transgenic animal is one that carries a foreign gene that has been deliberately inserted into its genome, more information on transgenic animals can be found here.

The authors write that the information available in ancient DNA that can be used to understand how genomes have evolved and to determine the genetic features that defined a particular species. Though they state that the precise function of an extinct gene is impossible to determine without examining every part of the pathway in one system therefore the results from extinct DNA analyses should be interpreted cautiously.

I find these kinds of studies interesting, and the article in it self is well worth the time. Though I think most of these studies would be even better and more interesting if they also had a humanistic approach regarding purpose and problems.

Magnus Reuterdahl


About Magnus Reuterdahl

I am an archaeologist/Osteologist from Sweden. My main intrest lays in north Euorpean archaeology in, preferbly the prehistory of the late iron age and the neolithic periods. I've also got a strong intrest for Chinese archaeology, especially the neolithc Yangshao culture. I also write about cultural heritage and cultural history. Mitt namn är Magnus Reuterdahl, jag är arkeolog och osteolog och arbetar företrädesvis i Sverige även om jag gjort ett par vändor till Kina. På den här bloggen skriver jag om mitt yrke, om fornlämningar, kulturarv och kulturhistoria m m. View all posts by Magnus Reuterdahl

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