At the heart of Michael Crichton’s most famous novel, Jurassic Park, is the myriad of technological and ethical questions regarding the idea of bringing extinct species back to life. In a September 1993 issue of Southwest Airlines’ Spirit magazine by Mark Seal, Michael Crichton relates a story about whether or not dinosaurs could really be cloned:
“Crichton likes to tell the story of running into a group of biotechnologist friends in Hawaii after Jurassic Park was published by Knopf in early 1990. Eager for feedback, he showed them the book.
“I had some concern that they might dislike it because it was critical of biotechnology,” he says. “My idea in that book was to suggest that we shouldn’t make dinosaurs. And theirs was, ‘Why not?’ And the first person, a very famous biotechnologist, read it and put the book down and said, ‘It can be done!’ and got excited. There’s actually been a fair amount of research that’s been promoted or stimulated by the book.”
Can it be done?
“Not now,” Crichton says. “I think (the biotechnologist) was saying that the story has no theoretical barriers, you know. It doesn’t require you to travel faster than light. … I would be very surprised if we didn’t have the revival of some extinct animals, possibly within a decade.”
He was a little too ambitious on his timeline, but it seems that the ability to clone long dead species is indeed upon us. In this PBS article called, “Should Scientists Bring Extinct Species Back from Oblivion?”, they say:
“Ever since the 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park, the possibility of bringing extinct species back to life has been part of our collective imagination. The film, based on a Michael Crichton novel, was itself inspired by actual scientific breakthroughs in the early 1990s that allowed scientists to use DNA from museum specimens and fossils to recreate the genome — or genetic blueprint — of dead animals. When the film debuted, the science wasn’t advanced enough to bring back extinct species. But today it might well be, and researchers’ growing efforts to recreate extinct species — in labs from California to Australia — have been making headlines.”