According to Hammond, the geneticists in the lab and the software they’re using is “The Real Deal”.
It is a piece of software intended to view and manipulate dino DNA into a format that (presumably) can be turned into viable dinosaur embryos. The screen is tilted away from us during viewing, and we aren’t able to see the extensive menu and labeling system on the left hand side of the desktop.
Behind it are more traditional microscopes, lab machines, and centrifugal separators.
Visible on the screen is a large pane with a 2D rendering of a 3d object that is the DNA that is being manipulated. It is a roughly helical shape, with the green stripes corresponding to the protein structure, and various colored dots representing the information proteins in between.
A technician manipulates the orientation of the protein strand. We only see him holding his hands to move the object around, we see no gestures that correlate to actual changes to the protein structure. It seems like direct manipulation, but reorienting isolated DNA in space is not really the work of a genetics lab. How do they connect the dinosaur DNA that they find with Amphibian DNA that is needed to fill the holes? Can’t we see that?
Maybe it’s asking too much for the movie to show an in-depth interface for actual genetic modification, considering the complexity of such a feat. Even if we did ask it, we don’t see any evidence of a useful interface here. I don’t even want to go into the analysis of this, except to say that there isn’t any representation to analyze for either how appropriate or how abysmal this interface is. It’s just a disposable gee-whiz won’t-the-future be cool moment.
Jurassic Park always brings back fond memories for this one time SGI 3D programmer.
I think this is a real interface, like a lot of those in JP, not something made up. What the movie people have done is conflate DNA with proteins.
The virtual reality headset and gloves really were used with 3D renderings of protein structures. A lot of what makes a particular protein work is not just what it is composed of, but how it folds up and the shapes created on its surface. Whether one protein can interlock with another is called “docking” and a VR system with direct manipulation was/is a great way for biochemists to look at proteins and twist them around to see if they can fit together.
Crichton included some examples of DNA sequences being examined and spliced in the book, but they’re just linear sequences of letters. I suspect the movie makers picked this as being more visually interesting and still somewhat related.
Good distinction. Looking at this as a 3d manipulator, it does look real (it would be interesting if someone recognized the software that they were using). I was focusing on it as something to manipulate and modify DNA strands.
By chance, does anyone reading this blog have screenshots of what scientists use to look at DNA today?