Mr. DNA is an animated character designed and developed by International Genetic Technologies, Inc. as an educational feature of the Jurassic Park theme park. He is an anthropomorphic DNA molecule with a rural, but knowledgeable, personality and a Texan accent. Along with being a feature of the Visitors’ Centre tour in the incomplete Jurassic Park, Mr. DNA was also featured in numerous media associated with the later Jurassic World, including the park’s official website and educational displays in the Samsung Innovation Center.
Due to the closure of Jurassic World on December 18, 2015 and Masrani Global Corporation’s subsequent decision to distance itself from de-extinction, Mr. DNA is no longer featured on any in-use videos. He can still be found as a static image on parts of the disused Jurassic World website, many of which have been made inaccessible by Dinosaur Protection Group hacktivists, as well as on discontinued Jurassic World merchandise.
Mr. DNA’s name is taken from the abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid, a molecule which carries genetic information in living things.
Little information is known about how InGen conceptualized and created the character of Mr. DNA, as Jurassic Park’s development on Isla Nublar was heavily guarded and much is still unknown. At some point between the first successful de-extinction in 1986 and the failure of Jurassic Park in 1993, InGen sought a way to explain the science behind the Park to visitors. They decided on creating an animated character to do so, which would appeal to children; InGen’s CEO John Hammond had viewed children as the Park’s target audience due to their interest in dinosaurs.
The animated character was conceptualized as an anthropomorphic DNA strand, represented as a chain of dots with a stylized cartoon face and hands. His voice actor gave him a Texan accent, representing him as a cowboy-like character while retaining an ability to explain complicated science in a manner digestible to the general public. This had the effect of making de-extinction seem interesting and exciting, rather than having visitors intimidated by the complexity of the process.
Planned roles in Jurassic Park
A short edutainment video introducing Mr. DNA was recorded and animated prior to the 1993 incident, with some parts live-acted by John Hammond himself. Part of the video would have the real Hammond interacting with his onscreen counterpart. This video would be shown to visitors in the Visitors’ Centre during a tour of the laboratory and control room via a rotating theater. While the theater room rotated to show other parts of the building, the video would be turned off, but Mr. DNA’s narration could still be heard.
The video’s animators and other developers are currently unknown, but would have had to have been privy to InGen’s secretive operations on Isla Nublar. A score for the animated short was being developed as of June 11, 1993, but was not yet completed before the Park was sabotaged.
Along with appearing in the video, Mr. DNA appeared on displays throughout Jurassic Park. He was present on signs in both visitor areas and employee-only areas, where he was always portrayed providing the Park’s customers and staff with helpful information about Park attractions and safety procedures.
The Visitors’ Centre tour video was only able to be shown to one group of guests during Jurassic Park’s endorsement tour on June 11, 1993. Following this, the Park was shut down due to an incident in which a disgruntled employee committed an act of corporate espionage, resulting in the deaths of multiple staff members and animal assets.
Roles in Jurassic World
In 1998, InGen was bought out by Indian tech megacorporation Masrani Global, which in 2002 restarted the Jurassic Park project. It was eventually rebranded Jurassic World, and opened on May 30, 2005. The character of Mr. DNA was resurrected along with the concept of a de-extinction theme park and zoo exhibition. However, as John Hammond had passed away in 1997 and the original Park infrastructure had largely decayed or been destroyed between 1993 and 2002, new material for Mr. DNA had to be created. As of 2004, before the park opened, he had already been implemented as a part of the on-site navigation system used by park employees to find their way around the island.
Like in the original concept for Jurassic Park, Mr. DNA was used for edutainment purposes to help visitors understand and become interested in the science that made Jurassic World possible. He was given new dialogue and an updated animation scheme, but his overall design and personality were mostly kept true to the original portrayal. His new dialogue was likely given by Colin Trevorrow, who is credited on the Masrani Global Corporation website as the not-yet-confirmed Director of Safety. He was still portrayed with a Texan accent, but it was less thick in his Jurassic World dialogue.
Mr. DNA could be seen on numerous park displays, and much like in Jurassic Park, he served to give visitors safety information and directions. He also appears on the Jurassic World website in similar capacity. During his time at Jurassic World, his design received a blue-and-white variation to complement the Jurassic World logo, as well as a red-and-white variation. However, he was generally shown with his original multicolored appearance.
Improvements in technology allowed Mr. DNA to interact with visitors more personally. Touchscreens and holographic technology were used in edutainment games in the Innovation Center, some of which had Mr. DNA featured as a host. He was also featured on some of the park’s merchandise.
On June 18, 2015, Jurassic World was closed down due to an incident involving the mismanagement of a highly volatile genetic engineering product. As the park never opened, and the bad press caused Masrani Global Corporation to distance itself from anything related to Jurassic World, Mr. DNA was effectively abandoned by his creators. He still exists in Jurassic World merchandise and on the parts of the Jurassic World website that are still accessible, though InGen and Masrani Global have no part in maintaining the site or producing Jurassic World merchandise any longer.
As an anthropomorphic personification of a DNA molecule, Mr. DNA had a large body of knowledge about genetics. His personality was designed to make him appeal to a wide audience, particularly children, so he was therefore skilled at educating people about DNA, cloning, neopaleontology, and other topics related to genetics and de-extinction.
Within the context of the short film that would have featured him in Jurassic Park, his skill at educating people was helped by various cartoon abilities, such as manifesting from any source of DNA, shrinking to fit within a cartoon DNA molecule, and changing into various forms to illustrate the de-extinction process.
Mr. DNA’s personality was designed to be relatable and entertaining, but still educational; he was portrayed as being excited by science and an avid science educator. Due to being a DNA molecule, he was particularly knowledgeable about DNA and genetics, and would take any opportunity to teach people about these topics. Dinosaur paleontology and de-extinction were among his areas of expertise (though he does erroneously refer to amber as fossilized tree sap; in reality, it is resin rather than sap).
According to the Jurassic World website, Mr. DNA’s favorite nucleotide is guanine.
Along with explaining science to park visitors, Mr. DNA was portrayed as being safety-conscious and providing safety information to both tourists and park associates. He was present on displays at many of the attractions, where he would relay rules and regulations to people nearby. Behind the scenes at the park, Mr. DNA signs were also sometimes used to chart site safety in locations where accidents were more likely to occur, such as the geothermal power plant.
When Jurassic World was closed down on December 18, 2015, Mr. DNA was used on the website to inform people that the park was experiencing issues and could not take visitors at that time. He was presumably used similarly in more minor incidents during normal park operation.
In the Visitors’ Centre tour video, Mr. DNA is shown to be friends with InGen founder and CEO John Parker Hammond. The video shows Mr. DNA appearing from Hammond’s bloodstream to explain to him, and by extent the Park’s guests, what DNA is and the concept of cloning.
John Hammond would have likely been involved in approving the character of Mr. DNA, and considering Hammond’s desire to have the Park appeal to children, may have had a hand in the creation of the character as well.
Other InGen employees
Mr. DNA would have been designed by animators employed by InGen, though it is not known if they were preexisting InGen employees or if they were contracted by the company. His voice may have been provided by InGen employees as well; it is likely that Colin Trevorrow, who is listed as a park employee on the Masrani Global Corporation website’s backdoor, provided the voice for the resurrected portrayal of the character.
Depending on when his character and original video were created, InGen founder Benjamin Lockwood may have been involved with the process, though he does not appear in the Visitors’ Centre video. In the footage, Hammond can be seen holding a cane that later was in Lockwood’s possession, suggesting that Lockwood may still have been involved with Jurassic Park at the time.
In the Visitors’ Centre video, Mr. DNA was appreciative of the hard work performed by InGen’s scientists and other associates, and explains to visitors how the park employees do their jobs to keep Jurassic Park running.
Outside of the visitor areas, he was used to remind employees of safety procedures.
Jurassic Park and Jurassic World tourists
Depending on when Mr. DNA was created and when Benjamin Lockwood’s daughter Maisie (who would have been between the ages of 5 and 10 between 1988 and 1993) visited the island, she may have been the first child to witness Mr. DNA. She may have had some influence on his character design, as she was a member of the target demographic.
While only one group of visitors (consisting of Drs. Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, and Ian Malcolm, and legal consultant Donald Gennaro) is known to have witnessed the original tour video in the Jurassic Park Visitors’ Centre, Mr. DNA would have provided guidance and information to millions of visitors in Jurassic World between May 30, 2005 and December 18, 2015. He was clearly a popular character, appearing in many forms of media and merchandise throughout the park’s operation.
Following the park’s emergency closure, Mr. DNA was used on the Jurassic World website to alert prospective tourists that the park was experiencing technical difficulties and that everything was under control. However, the park never reopened, leaving Mr. DNA as the sole representative of the park’s status on the website until it was hacked by the Dinosaur Protection Group in February of 2018.
Mr. DNA was voiced by actor Greg Burson in Jurassic Park, and by film director Colin Trevorrow in Jurassic World. His original animations were created by Frank Suarez.
While Mr. DNA was not a part of the Jurassic Park novel upon which the film was based, he was created in order to condense the novel’s technical explanations of de-extinction and genetics into a shorter and simpler format.