For those of you not familiar with this latest story, scientists have developed new techniques for recovering genetic material from ancient egg shell, in one case, as old as 19,000 years old (yeah I know – not exactly Mesozoic, but still impressive). This technology has revealed that egg shell is as good, if not a better source of DNA than bone and hair and has been described by Charlotte Oskam, of Murdoch University in Perth, as an “untapped source” of DNA that can be found world wide.
So this means that we now have good DNA profiles for Neanderthal man, mammoths, moas and elephant birds as well as very recently extinct animals such as the thylacine, dodo and goodness knows what else. Albeit that most of this DNA is degraded to a certain extent, the question remains – why have no animals, of any persuasion been resurrected?
The general consensus is that we are some way off being able to bring back such animals and whether, morally, we have a right to. The technology is not available we are told. And yet it is very obvious that an enormous amount of money is being poured into DNA and cloning research. This is not new of course and it has always been well funded but we are now entering a new era and the rewards on offer are enormous.
I’m no conspiracy theorist (well not a full paid up member anyhow!) but you can’t help but wonder that there are an awful lot of red herrings being thrown about, to convince the general public that this is still some way off and that there will be full public consultation before anything could possibly happen.
When you look back over the last twenty years or so, there have been innumerable stories of scientific achievement in the fields of DNA recovery, genetics and especially cloning. Indeed, the majority of stories were buried in the back pages of the newspapers with the funnies and the scientific publications were, well, read by scientists and were far away from the general publics mind with few exceptions.
Jurassic Park changed all that and the goal posts were seriously moved – and continue to be moved. The general public suddenly became aware of genetic engineering and the resurrection of long vanished animals suddenly became possible instead of impossible and the thirst for knowledge increased. This caused problems for both the scientific establishment and those very well funded privately owned genetic research organisations – namely they were not able to continue their research with their cards very close to their chests. They became aware of the public’s interest and had to start releasing “selected” news snippets to satiate this new thirst for knowledge.
And then, unsurprisingly, there were significant advances in genetic research. It was in 1996 that Dolly the sheep became the first animal to be successfully cloned. This was soon followed by both successful cloning of both horses and bulls culminating in the first cloning of a dog in Korea in 2005. And it was only last year that the first “extinct” animal was resurrected – the Pyrenean ibex. Although this animal died shortly after birth because of complications it did show that the resurrection of extinct animals was a reality.
So we appear to be at this stage where nobody will do anything without proper enquiries and public assessments and we are constantly reminded how far off any successful resurrection really is. Well, quite frankly, I don’t believe it and am quite convinced that there have been very successful cloning of both extant and extinct animals and this is being kept very hush hush.
Frankly it wouldn’t surprise me if there actually is some hidden research establishment in some remote area where some of these animals are being created a la Jurassic Park. And I suspect that human cloning has already taken place as well, which was always the ultimate aim. Scientific and computer technology has advanced so rapidly over the last twenty years as to make it inevitable.
I am firmly convinced that dinosaurs can and will be successfully revived. Everybody says that what little DNA has been recovered is so degraded that resurrection is impossible. Well I am of the opinion that computer evolution in the next five years, maybe sooner, will enable synthetic DNA to be created using markers from the original source material with the gaps filled in with extant archosaur material – birds and crocodiles.
Before you think I’m ready for the funny farm (have been for some time) I implore you to take a step back and think about human advancement over the last twenty years. Think personal computers, think television, think mobile phones – goodness think the internet itself. Advancement is rapid, astonishing, indeed frightening.
The next time another media release appears in the public domain proclaiming the next advances made in DNA recovery, genetic technology or cloning remember that you are reading something that had been achieved probably five to ten years ago but it keeps the public satiated. It will also be backed up by a statement that proclaims further advances are some years away.
Smile to yourself and just consider that whatever is meant to be “created” some years in the future has already been created and is running about on some island not too far from you! You heard it here first!
Please don't take this article too seriously. It is purely a bit of speculation on my part, maybe a little bit eccentric *cough* but I do believe there to be an element of truth here, no matter how ridiculous it may appear.