Moviecular Biology

  

GATTACA

 

What would you do if you were born with 30.2 years of Life Expectancy?

  

 

Vincent:  “I belonged to a new underclass, no longer determined by social status or the color of your skin. No, we now have discrimination down to a science.” 

 

 

 

Vincent: It is funny, you work so hard, you do everything you can to get away from a place, and when you finally get your chance to leave, you find a reason to stay

 

 

Vincent: “For someone who was never meant for this world, I must confess I’m suddenly having a hard time leaving it. Of course, they say every atom in our bodies was once part of a star. Maybe I’m not leaving… maybe I’m going home.”

 

  

Vincent: There’s no gene for fate.

 

 

Jurassic Park 

 

The Ethics Discussion in the Movie:

 

The dinner scene: Discussing the ethics of the Jurassic Park

 

 

 

You can see Quotes from this scene in the “Quotes and Something else Page”

 

 

The genetic explanation:

 

Mr. DNA explains Jurassic park

 

 

Could this happens?

 

Dr. Timothy Rowe, University of Texas, explains why not:

 

 

 

More Information:

Jurassic Park: Is it possible?

 http://www.shodor.org/ssep/lessons/jurassic/fact.html

 

San Diego Natural Historic Museum: The Science of Jurassic Park

 

http://www.sdnhm.org/research/paleontology/jp_qanda.html

 

 

 

 

The Lysine Contingency

 

What is it?

 

“Muldoon: What about the lysine contingency? We could put that into effect!
Dr. Ellie Sattler: What’s that?
John Hammond: It is absolutely out of the question.
Ray Arnold: The lysine contingency – it’s intended to prevent the spread of the animals is case they ever got off the island, but we could use it now. Dr. Wu inserted a gene that makes a single faulty enzyme in protein metabolism. Animals can’t manufacture the amino acid lysine. Unless they’re continually supplied with lysine by us, they’ll slip into a coma and die.
Dr. Ellie Sattler: How could we cut off the lysine?
Ray Arnold: No real trick to it. Just stop running the program, leaving them unattended.
Dr. Ian Malcolm: How long before they become comatose?
Ray Arnold: It would be totally painless – they’d just slip into unconsciousness and die.
Dr. Ian Malcolm: How long until they slip into unconsciousness?
Ray Arnold: Hmm… seven days, more or less.
Dr. Ellie Sattler: Seven days? Seven days? Oh, that’s great. Clever!
Dr. Ian Malcolm: That’ll be a first – man and dinosaur all die together. John’s plan.
John Hammond: People are dying! Mr. Arnold, will you please shut down the system.
Ray Arnold: OK, but… you asked for it. Hold on to your butts!
[switches the mainframe off]”

 

 

Is it possible?

 

Lysine is in fact, an essential amino acid for humans and for animals, that should eat it from the diet.  (There is even a song about some “benefits” of Lysine! :  http://www.rhapsody.com/maxtundra/lysine )

 

Lysine Structure:

 

 

  
 

 

 

 

It is true that it is the essential amino acid found in lower quantity in all cereal grains, and that it is frequently a key amino acid in the diet of some animals, so they can use properly all the other amino acids in diet,  but lysine appears plentiful in legumes.

 

In humans, the deficit of lysine in diet (very rare) may produce different health problems: “If there is too little lysine in the diet, kidney stones and other health related problems may develop including fatigue, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, agitation, bloodshot eyes, slow growth, anemia, and reproductive disorders. It is extremely rare, however, to obtain insufficient amounts of lysine through the diet. Generally, only vegetarians who follow a macrobiotic diet and certain athletes involved in frequent vigorous exercise are at risk for lysine deficiency. For vegetarians, legumes (beans, peas and lentils) are the best sources of lysine” (University of Maryland Medical Center: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/lysine-000312.htm)

 

Lysine deficiencies in animals have been studied also. Metabolic changes are similar to those found in humans.

 

Anyway, even when we do not have information about the metabolism of dinosaurs, I think that it is very difficult that the lack of lysine can produce coma in a week. We assume that dinosaurs would present growth problems, emaciation because of lose of muscular mass, maybe anemia, reproductive problems…but coma in a week? It does not looks plausible, since it looks probable that they could use some structural proteins for obtaining lysine for critical metabolic pathways that could compromise their viability in the short term.

 

At the end of the Michael Crichton book, some “unknown” animals were eating  some crops of beans on the Costa Rica mainland, near the Jurassic park island. It suggests that some animals have escaped from the Nublar island.

 

It is well known that beans are very rich in Lysine…

 

—–

 

More information about Lysine:

 

Lysine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysine

 

Lysine deficiency

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/lysine-000312.htm

 

  

 

The 6th Day
 

 

 “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them;
      male and female he created them…”

 

 

“….Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!  And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day”

Genesis

 

 

Replacement Technologies is a company whose business is clonation.

It produces big quantities of food, but also clones… other ‘stuff”

 

 

Interesting biochemical detail 

Replacement Technology  has implanted every human he has cloned with DNA that will make the human clones to develop Cystic Fibrosis. It is a way in which the company:

a)      Can control the  cloned humans.

b)      Make the clones to require the service of the company for future clonation in a few years. 

 

 

 

 

 

Quotes from Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character):

 

 “Doesn’t anybody die any more?”

 “All I know is that there is somebody in my house, eating my birthday cake, with my family, and its not me!”

 “I might be back”.

 

Update: About GenPet

 

 

4 thoughts on “Moviecular Biology

  1. Pingback: A Moviecular Biology film: The 6th Day « The Biochemistry Questions Site

  2. Pingback: Moviecular Biology Page Updated: Jurassic Park « The Biochemistry Questions Site

  3. Pingback: Michael Crichton, R.I.P. « The Biochemistry Questions Site

  4. Pingback: Blogs I Like: Biochemistry Questions Site « EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

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