How to Hatch a Dinosaur

Jack Horner is seeking funding for a project in which he would reverse-engineer a dinosaur using chickens. Horner has already rejected the Jurassic Park method of cloning dinosaur DNA (he was a consultant on the film). Instead, he plans to switch on ancient traits that still exist in the DNA of modern birds.
Already, researchers have found tantalizing clues that at least some ancient dinosaur characteristics can be reactivated. Horner is the first to admit that he doesn’t know enough to do the work himself, so he’s actively seeking a developmental biology postdoctoral fellow to join his lab group in Montana. Horner has the big ideas, and he has some seed funding.

Now all he needed to make it happen, he told his TED audience, was a few breakthroughs in developmental biology and genetics and all the chicken eggs he could get his hands on. “What we’re trying to do is take our chicken, modify it, and make,” he said, “a chickenosaurus.”

Wired magazine looks at the genetic research that led Horner to believe that such a project is feasible. What could possibly go wrong? Link

(Image credit: photographer Dan Forbes/model maker Jason Clay Lewis)

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