Sci-Fi and 'Jurassic Park' Drive Ancient DNA Research

In the wake of the 1993 Jurassic Park film, scientists who have anything — or even nothing — to do with paleontology or molecular biology are almost always asked the same question: "Can we resurrect a dinosaur?" The answer is always an emphatic no. But to some extent, Jurassic Park did actually drive and develop the science and technology of ancient DNA research. The focus of this interest, however, has somewhat shifted. These days, questions are less about dinosaur resurrection and more about mammoth de-extinction, particularly after the discovery of potentially viable mammoth DNA in 2013. Ph.D. candidate Elizabeth Jones writes for Mashable, "Jurassic Park has certainly left a long and lasting legacy. It is a legacy that makes us question our motivation for de-extinction. And with the release of Jurassic World, this debate over science or sensation is set to take center stage once again."