Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is a molecule that carries genetic information in organisms. It is a key factor in determining the physiological traits of an organism and can be inherited from parent to offspring, therefore playing a major role in biological evolution.
DNA is utilized as a resource by companies such as International Genetic Technologies and by nonprofit organizations such as the Dinosaur Protection Group. Because DNA encodes large amounts of information about an organism, it can be used in the process of cloning in order to recreate whatever organism it came from. Below is a summary of the ways DNA has been used by these organizations.
Use as a resource
From the 1980s onward, scientists at Jurassic Park led primarily by Dr. Henry Wu extracted DNA from mosquitoes and other fluid-drinking animals preserved in prehistoric amber samples in order to clone species which had long been extinct. While this practice was delayed between 1993 and 1997 due to difficulties at InGen, the park was successfully opened after this and the cloning process was recommenced. Amber specimens that had been lost on Isla Nublar were rediscovered as the island was developed and could be used as a source of DNA. At the Research Center, park managers could authorize the sequencing of new genomes as well as the modification of existing ones, funding the research one gene at a time.
Along with sequencing DNA from amber specimens recovered from the island, DNA samples were sometimes discovered elsewhere. Because these would expire after a few short days, rescuing the samples was of utmost importance, and Dr. Wu incentivized this by giving samples out as rewards to park managers who succeeded at combat research. Managers who ranked high enough were eligible to receive individual genes if they won tournaments, though managers who were unable to win a complete genome could still purchase it from him.
Eventually, InGen discovered a new and surprising source of DNA: a previously unknown lineage of agnathan parasites, similar to the modern-day lamprey and its ancestors. These blood-drinking vertebrates had existed since the Cambrian period and maintained their parasitic lifestyle until geologically recent times, and because they fed upon an incredible variety of animal life, they could be used as a source of ancient DNA belonging to a great many species. Somehow, the agnathans had become commonly preserved in ice for great lengths of time (in some cases, for hundreds of millions of years), and through an unknown mechanism the DNA had avoided decaying. Samples were retrieved from around the world’s oceans and used to clone animals for Aquatic Park.
InGen later purchased land in Patagonia near the Magda Glacier, using it to construct Glacier Park using DNA retrieved from tissue samples preserved in ice. The Magda Glacier itself was rich in such tissue samples for unknown reasons, providing InGen with excellent access to South American extinct animal species. Despite this, Dr. Wu sometimes struggled with sequencing mammalian genes; his former colleague Dr. Carol Milton was able to clone species such as the Smilodon, woolly mammoth, and mastodon before Dr. Wu had determined how to do so.
Not all of InGen’s genetic research was successful by any means. Sometimes, when extracting ancient blood samples from a parasitic host, the sample could become contaminated by the DNA of the host itself. This could then manifest as a harmful mutation in the cloned animal. For example, dinosaurs that possessed harmful DNA inclusions from mosquitoes could see their lifespans reduced, sometimes drastically, due to various health problems. The Tyrannosaurus rex specimen Ares 7 was one such example; due to a large proportion of mosquito DNA included in its genome, it developed severe mutations and self-terminated in the embryonic stage. This genetic contamination eventually inspired Dr. Wu to research ways in which the genes of differing species could be intentionally combined to result in beneficial, rather than harmful, mutations. Over time, this kind of genetic engineering led Dr. Wu to learn how to hybridize different genomes and create entirely new species.
By 2015, InGen had amassed a genetic library consisting of hundreds of species. At Jurassic World, new species no longer need be decoded by the park manager; InGen has already done this, and instead makes new species available to park managers over time. To incubate any new animal, the park manager needs to access their DNA stockpile in the same manner as other resources such as Coins or Cash. This generic filler DNA can be used to create whichever species needs to be incubated in the Hatchery.
In addition, Dr. Wu brought Project Ares to fruition in 2015, making a breakthrough in hybridization as well as separating the park’s animal assets into Candidate and Legacy specimens to terminate lineages that carried the unwanted mutations. These accomplishments were both the result of decades of work. Along with breeding unmodified animals, DNA can be used to fuel artificial evolution, altering the appearance and physiology of Jurassic World’s animals by cross-referencing two existing identical specimens. In addition, DNA can be used during hybridization, which is performed by cross-referencing two specimens of different species which themselves have already been put through the artificial evolution process.
A second type of DNA, referred to as “S-DNA” (meaning “super-DNA”), was developed in 2015 as well. This is a more specified, resilient form of the molecule which is essential in superhybridization. S-DNA belongs to a particular species, rather than acting as filler like the usual DNA utilized in Jurassic World. A superhybrid is defined as a hybrid animal in which one of the species sourced is, itself, a hybrid. For example, the Indoraptor superhybrid is created by fusing S-DNA sourced from Velociraptor into the Indominus rex genome. In this way, the species which was the source of S-DNA need not have one of its specimens sacrificed for the hybridization process.
DNA can be obtained by Jurassic World’s park managers at the Trade Harbor in exchange for other resources, and is a common reward in card packs or at the Prize Drop. It is also commonly given as a reward for completing missions, and is given when a Code 19 is resolved without an animal escape. VIP managers have an additional means of generating DNA; they are given blueprints for a DNA Production Site, a laboratory which can produce filler DNA in twelve hours. After four months of VIP membership, the blueprints for an S-DNA Production Site are given as well.
Dinosaur Protection Group
Members of the Dinosaur Protection Group work in laboratories around the world to maintain genomic libraries of all de-extinct species and hybrids that have appeared in the wild. These are not taken from InGen’s genomic database, but are instead updated as species are discovered by the DPG. The central system updates members’ personal libraries as new discoveries are made, leaving empty slots for species that have not yet been logged in by that member. DNA is collected via syringe darts, and the individual member’s personal library is updated as DNA is amassed. Higher-ranking members of the DPG are trusted with better technology for collecting samples, so the more experience a member has, the more efficient their DNA collection will be.
Filler DNA is not used by the DPG. Instead, each species in the genomic library is logged separately and no generalized DNA is used to clone them. Once a sufficient amount of DNA has been collected, the species it belongs to can be cloned. Continuing to amass DNA will eventually permit the use of gene therapy to increase the animals’ health and strength. This increases their chances of survival, though the DPG does not perform artificial evolution in the manner InGen has done. Once DNA has been used to increase the power level of an animal, that DNA cannot be regained.
Hybrids are generally rare in the wild, so to research them, the DPG must clone its own specimens. While the genetic formulas for these hybrids are given out as libraries are updated, individual members must create the hybrids on their own. To do this, DNA from the constituent species must be collected in order to increase the animals to a level sufficient enough to provide robust samples without harming the donor. As a result of this practice, animals need not be sacrificed to the hybridization process as was done at Jurassic World. The laboratory computer can then use specific amounts of DNA from both species to calculate part of the hybrid’s genome. Once enough DNA has been synthesized, the hybrid animal can be created. Thanks to the DPG’s methods, S-DNA is no longer required for superhybridization, so this process works in the same manner.