Movies, especially science fiction films, are not expected to be documentaries or educational films. It suffices that they are based on – or inspired by – scientific facts to stimulate exploration and imagination.
Cinemas around the world will start showing the sixth movie in the “Jurassic Park” series of films, and the third in the “Dinosaur World” trilogy, under the title “Jurassic World Dominion”, and its events revolve around the spread of dinosaurs in the world. The world after the destruction of the protected island and its struggle with humans for domination and control of the planet.
A breakthrough in science fiction cinema
The release of Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film “Jurassic Park” was a breakthrough in science fiction cinema related to biology, genetic engineering and cloning, and ignited the imagination of biologists themselves before it sparked people’s interest with a fundamental question surrounded by many ethical problems: Is Scientists can one day clone extinct animals from their DNA?
Despite the strangeness of the idea and its being closer to fiction than to the truth, the scientific developments in selective breeding techniques, genetic engineering, and reproductive cloning encouraged scientists to think about it, and even strive to achieve it, especially with the success of cloning a mammal for the first time in 1996 – Dolly the sheep – using the “Dolly” technology. Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT). Ironically, the first movie in the “Dinosaur Sanctuary” series was released 3 years earlier. Was the movie inspiring scientists to clone Dolly the sheep? We may never know the answer.
Many scientists dream of bringing extinct animals back to life, similar to the movies of the dinosaur world. There are many famous attempts, the first of which was reported by the Encyclopedia Britannica about the experiment of cloning the extinct “Pyrenean ibex”, using the “somatic cell nucleus transfer” technique, but the cloned ibex died of a lung infection minutes after its birth.
Bring back an extinct frog to existence!
As for the biggest achievement that scientists have achieved in bringing extinct animals back to existence, it was represented in the experiment of the frog that became extinct in 1983 and was famous for swallowing its eggs until they hatch in its stomach and that is why it was called the “Gastric-Brooding Frog”.
Scientists – within the “Lazarus Project” run by Newcastle University, were able to bring back the extinct frog to existence by cloning the embryos of the extinct frog using advanced cloning technology to implant a “dead cell nucleus” into the egg of another type of frog after removing its original nucleus.
Although the attempt was technically successful, the embryos lived only a few days and then died. Time magazine ranked the experiment among the 25 best inventions of 2013, because it succeeded in reviving the extinct frog, even if it was for a short period of time.
Revival of the woolly mammoth
The race is currently underway between the two institutions “Colossal for Biological Sciences” founded by the famous geneticist Dr. George Church, a professor at Harvard University, and the “Revive and Restore” Foundation to return the extinct “woolly mammoth” 4 thousand years ago.
The Colossal Foundation received initial funding of $15 million, and last March it secured investment funding of $60 million. Ironically, the executive producer of the “Dinosaur World” films was among the contributors.
The researchers are looking to combine the DNA of mammoths preserved in ice for thousands of years with contemporary Asian elephants, to acquire all the characteristics of woolly mammoths and live in the cold places where giant mammoths roamed thousands of years ago.
The question that arises now is, if scientists succeed in the near future to bring back the extinct mammoth, does this mean that they will succeed in returning the dinosaurs to our world?
Dinosaur DNA extraction
The basic idea of the films, and before that of the original novels, is based on bringing the extinct dinosaurs back to our world by cloning them from the DNA extracted from their blood that was sucked up by mosquitoes before they froze in the treehouses. After that comes the stage of building the complete genome from this DNA and completing the missing parts of the frog’s DNA code, then placing the complete genetic code in unfertilized ostrich or emu eggs.
There are problems with this proposition. In order to revive a large number of extinct dinosaurs, you would need to have a large number of mosquitoes frozen in the amber that fed on the blood of different types of these dinosaurs.
Assuming that there were so many mosquitoes and abundant blood samples of dinosaurs, there remains a biological problem that has nothing to do with scientific progress: DNA, like all natural organic matter, decays and deteriorates over time.
The researchers found that the half-life of DNA is 521 years, which means that after this period has passed, half of the bonds between nucleotides (the basic units of DNA) will break down, and after another 521 years the remaining half of these bonds will break down.
Harvard researchers believe that they are able to bring the woolly mammoth back to life because these samples are 4,000 years old, and the tissues of these samples are well preserved in the ice, and the DNA of the dinosaurs has passed 66 million years, which is a very long period, and until scientists succeed in using Modern genetic techniques in extracting the DNA of dinosaurs must be able to extract a valid and complete genetic code, which is impossible because dinosaur DNA did not exist in the first place.
And many may not know that the name itself is inaccurate, as most of the dinosaurs embodied in the movies actually belong to the “Cretaceous” era, which covers the period from 145 million years to 65 million years ago, and is the third and last of the three eras of the Mesozoic Era, and precedes it Right in the Jurassic period, the extinction of the dinosaurs occurred in the Cretaceous period, not the Jurassic period.
Of course, cinematic films, especially science fiction films, are not expected to be documentaries or educational films. It is sufficient for them to be based on – or inspired by – scientific facts to stimulate exploration and imagination.