My Mom, the research advisor March 8, 2015Posted by mareserinitatis in science, science fiction, younger son.
Do you ever have conversations with your kids where you think, afterwards, something along the lines of, “I can’t believe we had this conversation?”
The younger son wants to breed dinosaurs…or at least generate dinosaurs from recovered dinosaur DNA. He asked me if it was possible to do that, and I told him that I think, at this point, they can only generate an organism if they have a living cell. Since he had recently made a plant cell out of perler beads for a class project, I figured he’d be able to understand a little bit about it.
I explained how they cloned Dolly the Sheep by putting a nucleus from an adult cell into a fertilized egg which became a sheep that was genetically identical to the adult sheep. Younger son asked if there was any way to insert dinosaur DNA into the nucleus of another cell, and I told him that while it sounds like a cool idea, I didn’t think it would work unless the DNA came from a living cell.
He seemed genuinely disappointed at that point, so I mentioned that maybe there were people doing research into that sort of thing and that he could maybe do it himself someday.
That apparently was the right thing to say because he started planning out what things he would need for a lab full of full-grown dinosaurs (including wide-open spaces with lots of trees for the brachiosaurs). He mentioned that he’d start with plant-eaters, but maybe after a couple decades, move into meat eaters like t-rex. I suggested he may want to read the book “Jurassic Park.”
After a bit, he said he seemed awfully young to be planning this stuff out, but that’s okay because he has time to work on it. Then he gave me a hug and told me that he’d let me know if he managed to clone some dinosaurs. I’m pretty sure that if he pulls that off, I would be hearing about it, one way or another. Still, I’m glad he thinks it’s important to let his mom know…