Scientists successfully recreate Tyrannosaurus Rex embryo from chicken DNA

trex embryo

A 68 million-year-old DNA sample retrieved from soft tissue cells found in a recently excavated pregnant Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil has led researchers at North Carolina State University to produce the first fully living dinosaur embryo in millions of years.

The pregnant Tyrannosaurus Rex’s DNA, that was preserved in “extremely good condition” according to experts, was introduced into the skin cells of a chicken, a modern relative to the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

“We often think of the T-Rex as this huge crocodile-like bipedal reptile but in fact, its closest modern relative are birds and the T-Rex was actually the dinosaur equivalent of a chicken” explains Linda Rushmore, head researcher at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Paleontology Research Lab. 

The T-Rex was actually the dinosaur equivalent of a chicken

– Linda Rushmore, Paleontologist

“The similarity of both DNA’s actually surprised us at first and we are extremely enthustiac about the positive results and growth of the embryo,” she adds.

embryo

Researchers at North Carolina’s Museum of Natural Sciences’ Paleontology Research Lab successfully inserted 68-million-year-old DNA of a pregnant Tyrannosaurus Rex into chicken skin cells, giving life to the first living dinosaur embryo in millions of years

A chicken-dinosaur hybrid

The living embryo is not a 100% dinosaur, but instead a genetically modified hybrid between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a chicken, explains Helmut Hans Fraser, a molecular biologist at North Carolina State University.

“It is impossible to recreate a fully living dinosaur from these limited samples of DNA, but we have successfully introduced this DNA into living chicken skin cells, so the results of this embryo, if it comes to terms and eventually survives its own birth and does not present any biological defects, will be a total surprise. We have no idea what to expect at all,” explains the assistant research professor of molecular biology sciences. “We have noticed that the embryo grows at abnormal rates for a common chicken embryo. It is presently sixty five times bigger than the size of an average chicken embryo only after three days, but its growth seems exponential, which is clearly fascinating” he admits, visibly enthused by the discovery.

An ethical debate

Although many scientists have perceived the news as a positive advancement for science, some experts believe the experiment is “unethical and possibly dangerous”.

bioethicist

French bioethicist, Jacques Clement, at the University of Versailles in Paris wonders if it is a good thing to bring a 4 meter-high, 8 ton creature back to life

“Who would want, in his right mind, to bring back to life a 4-meter high creature weighing approximately 8 tons?” asks French bioethicist, Jacques Clement, at the University of Versailles in Paris. “There is already a leading consensus that GMO foods can cause damage to human DNA, and now we are creating a Frankenstein-like creature from dinosaur DNA? If extraterrestrials are looking at us right now, they must be shaking their heads in disbelief,” he says with humor. “What happens if this species cross breeds with modern chickens? This could alter our modern chickens DNA forever as do GMO plants when they interbreed with millennia-old species,” he adds as a warning.

Last year, Harvard geneticist George Church and his colleagues successfully used a similar gene-editing technique known as CRISPR to insert mammoth genes for small ears, subcutaneous fat, and hair length and color into the DNA of elephant skin cells.

5 Comments on "Scientists successfully recreate Tyrannosaurus Rex embryo from chicken DNA"

  1. Brooklyn Walker | October 17, 2016 at 5:57 am | Reply

    We could all go extinct if they let that Dinosaur live. It’s going to be impossible if it’s big and having to kill it. We don’t want them roaming earth because we’ll die. And We need to destroy it before it becomes a dangerous species. They have to destroy it before its to late, it’s going to be impossible to kill it when it’s older

  2. Oh hell yeah I want one if it happens

  3. At least it's not a Raptor | October 17, 2016 at 10:23 am | Reply

    “what if it breeds with the other chickens” you dumbass you just said it would be 4 stories tall. I doubt it could breed with an ostrich, let alone a chicken.

  4. If scientists are having a hard time coming up with a name for the new hybrid I’ve come up with one – Bwarkosaurus!

  5. Baaaaad idea to mess with nature..

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