Could the Woolly Mammoth be brought back to life?
De-extinction scientists want to bring back vanished species by using new genomic technologies
If you thought the woolly mammoth and the dodo were gone for good, then think again – scientists in America are working to bring vanished species back to life.
Aided by new genomic technologies, biologists at The Long New Foundation in California are investigating the possibility of resurrecting creatures such as the sabre-toothed tiger.
The Revive and Restore project aims to achieve the “genetic rescue of endangered and extinct species”.
On their website, The Long New Foundation says: “The DNA of many extinct creatures is well preserved in museum specimens and some fossils. Their full genomes can now be read and analysed.
“That data may be transferable as working genes into their closest living relatives, effectively bringing the extinct species back to life.
“The ultimate aim is to restore them to their former home in the wild.”
In an interview with the New York Times Magazine, Steven Brand, the project’s president and co-founder, spoke about a plans to create a population of woolly mammoths in a Siberian preserve called Pleistocene Park, which was created by Russian scientist Sergey Zimov.
“We’ve framed it in terms of conservation,” Brand said. “We’re bringing back the mammoth to restore the steppe in the Arctic. One or two mammoths is not a success. 100,000 mammoths is a success.”
But it’s not quite Jurassic Park just yet.
Currently, the project is working to resurrect the passenger pigeon, which became extinct in 1914.
Ben Novak, the foundation’s research and science consultant, told the publication that the construction of the passenger pigeon genome is underway and that the scientists hope to have reintroduced the birds into the wild by 2060, if all goes according to plan.
And there’s certainly excitement in the scientific world surrounding the possibilities.
In a paper published in Science, the ethicist Hank Greely and the law professor Jacob Sherkow, both of Stanford University, argued that de-extinction ought to be pursued on the basis that it would “surely be very cool”.
However, many conservation biologists are concerned about the implications of the movement, questioning the logic of bringing back species whose environments have been destroyed, as well as the potential for creating a breeding ground for new diseases.
“We have answers for every question,” Novak told the New York Times Magazine.
“We’ve been thinking about this a long time.”
Then again, we all know what happened in Jurassic Park…
- 1 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 2 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 3 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
MH17 crash: Investigators discover more human remains and 'huge section of plane'
Susan Sarandon on David Bowie romance: 'He's worth idolising'
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Exclusive: Cameron’s Big Society in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...