This series of Science Thriller Mythbusting tackles the most famous of all thriller science myths, the cloning of dinosaurs using DNA extracted from insects preserved in amber.
Getting bits of DNA sequence from something dead is easy.
Getting a complete, error-free genome sequence from anything is very, very hard.
Most of the organisms whose genomes have been sequenced, most notably the human, have not necessarily been sequenced to 100% accuracy. For many purposes, that’s okay. But if one were to attempt to re-create an entire living organism strictly from its DNA, even tiny errors could be catastrophic.
Even if one could recover some intact dinosaur DNA from an insect preserved in amber (a feat no one in real life has accomplished), that DNA would surely be broken and incomplete.
In Jurassic Park, the scientists supposedly use amphibian (frog) DNA sequences to stitch up the gaps. But without a genome to use as a reference, how would they know where the gaps were? Or what kinds of genes were missing? Then of course using DNA from a species quite evolutionarily distant would be unlikely to produce a viable embryo.
Next in part 4: squishy dinosaur fossil breakthrough!