Saturday, March 30, 2013

De-Extinction: A Do Over?

[the dodo, image credit here]


I can't help but view this a good news.  Via thejournal:

Scientists want to bring 22 animals back from extinction

Last weeked at a TEDx conference in Washington DC sponsored by National Geographic, scientists met to discuss which animals should be brought back from extinction. They also discussed the how, why and ethics of doing so.
 
They called it ‘de-extinction‘.
 
A cover story for this month’s National Geographic explains how de-extinction rests on a relatively simple premise: it involves taking old DNA samples, reassembling them into a full genome which is then injected into embryonic cells which have had their own DNA taken out, and then finding a suitable living surrogate to give birth.
 
The Washington Post reports that ten years ago, a team of scientists from France and Spain almost brought back an extinct wild goat – but it only lived for 10 minutes. It raises a host of issues, including how scientists can get a good enough sample of DNA from the extinct animal – and whether or not they should. There are a few guidelines for which ancient species are considered, and sadly, dinosaurs are so long dead they aren’t in the picture. Their DNA has long ago degraded, so researchers are fairly sure that Jurassic Park will never happen.


I realize that many will probably disagree, but the chance to restore that which was lost through the actions and short-sightedness of humans is worthwhile.  As human population pressures increase, extinctions will inevitably rise, so this technique may well work hand-in-glove with other species survival strategies.

The list of 22 includes critters that appeal to me, particularly the dodo, passenger pigeon, and the ivory-billed woodpecker.

 

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