Essay Jurassic Park

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Jurassic Park

The girl shrieks as the giant tree trunk of a leg crashes down shaking the earth. Her screams are then drowned out by the prehistoric roar of the genetically engineered Tyrannosaurus Rex as it searches for prey (Crichton,

1991). Everyone remembers this scene from the best-selling novel by Michael

Crichton, Jurassic Park. These scenes were then brought to life by producer/director Steven Spielberg in the immensely popular movie by the same name. Is this possible? As technological advances in molecular biology steam into the twenty-first century, many scientists have found themselves asking this very question. With continuing advancements in the methods of recombining DNA
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Fossils and DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the chemical basis of life (Campbell,

1996). All cells contain the strands of sugar and phosphate. These strands are held together by the four nucleotides; Adenine, Thiamin, Guanine, and Cytosine.

Within these strands are millions of genes. These are what forms the organism, makes it unique, in essence the blueprints of life. DNA is eventually transcribed and translated into amino acids which carry out the function outlined within the specific gene (Campbell, 1996). It is because of this that many scientists have become skeptical of the ability of DNA to survive much more than a few thousand years. The viability of DNA is tested in this simple way.

Amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, come in both left-handed and right-handed forms. Most organisms build proteins using left-handed amino acids known as L-enantiomers. After death, a chemical process known as racemization begins changing L-enantiomers into right-handed D-enantiomers until a balance is reached. Since racemization occurs at approximately the same rate as DNA degradation, scientists can use the ratio of D-enantiomers to L-enantiomers to determine the state of the organism's DNA. If extensive racemization has occurred, the DNA has deteriorated. Researchers have not been able to obtain reliable samples from remains in