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Re: Mosquitoes in Jurrasic Park



jamolnar@juno.com wrote:
>
> Just some comments on mosquito biology.

[snip]

> So, Hammond would have to go through many tons of amber

[you assert]


> to find a female mosquito that hasn't just fed on flowers alone,

.. which they only do if they can't *find* a blood source during the
egg developmental period...

> *and* fed on a dinosaur
> with nucleated red blood cells (and no other animal)

1) There are other nucleated celltypes in  blood (which should be
thought of as a fluid tissue). Dinosaurs presumably had a similar
complement of immune system cellular components floating around in
addition to the RBC's.

2) Mosquitos generally require only a single blood meal to stock up on
the protein neccessary to build eggs, if I recall correctly.

3) Even if a given mosquito contained blood from several species, the
PCR amplification of the extracted sample would selectively hit
sequences from the target type, since that is what the primers would
be tailored towards...

> *and* hasn't already
> completely processed the blood meal for her developing eggs and* became
> entombed in amber *and* the amber fossilizing intact.  What are the
> incredible odds of anyone finding this and getting viable DNA at all?
> Pretty nil, I'd say.

It's strange to hear an argument from personal incredulity from
someone who has obviously accepted evolutionary history: its usually
the creationists who can't imagine huge numbers an amounts of time. We
are looking at the entire world population of female mosquitos for the
untold millenia that dinosaurs were available as a blood source as a
base population from which to derive enough amber-fossilised
candidates to give us a reasonable chance of finding a well-enough
preserved sample. To my mind, thats not as unlikely as you put it.

However, there are many better-based reasons to think any kind of
revivification of a dinosaur genome is possible, mostly relating to
the limitations DNA preservation and to the technology available to
pull out authentic sequences...

M.

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