Lysine Contingency (S/F)

Disambiguation Links – Lysine Contingency (C/N)

The lysine contingency, as mentioned by Ray Arnold, was intended to be a foolproof failsafe that Henry Wu had put in place to ensure that the dinosaurs never left the island. In the event that one of them ever did escape, they were specifically engineered to be incapable of producing the essential amino acid lysine. Thus, without being artificially provided with lysine supplements in their regular diet, they would slip into a coma and die after several days.

After the dinosaurs began to escape from their paddocks, Robert Muldoon suggested putting the lysine contingency into effect in order to save the lives of Alan Grant and Tim and Lex Murphy. However, John Hammond declared that this was out of the question and sought alternative methods. Following the initial evacuation of survivors from Isla Nublar, Laura Sorkin intended to introduce a new enzyme into the island’s main water supply which would counteract the lysine contingency, as she intended to return to the island at a later time. Because of the lysine contingency, the animals would have died by the time she returned and all her research would have been lost. Sorkin succeeded in releasing the new enzyme into the water supply, reversing the dinosaurs’ “greatest genetic defect,” which Gerry Harding strongly objected to, as the dinosaurs were no longer subject to the failsafe and could survive in the outside world, which would potentially have enormous repercussions on the world’s ecosystems.

The animals, to Ian Malcolm‘s surprise, continued to thrive on Isla Sorna in spite of the lysine failsafe due to the herbivore’s abilities to consume soy and other lysine-rich foods. Sarah Harding, the paleontologist and animal behaviorist who had studied the animals in the field, also proposed the continued survival of the island’s carnivore population because of their consumption of herbivores which had fed on those lysine-rich foods.

In actuality, lysine is an essential amino acid which cannot be produced naturally by most animals; therefore, the contingency plan would actually not have allowed much of anything to prevent the animals from surviving off the island. There are several lysine-rich foods that could sufficiently supply any animals that had escaped from Isla Nublar or Sorna with the lysine they would need to survive, including catfish, chickens, soybeans, eggs, and kidney beans. Many of these are readily available in nature, and are easily accessible to wild animals, including any dinosaurs that may have escaped from Isla Nublar.