Saving extinct and endangered species will benefit humans, too

| | June 2, 2015
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The Sixth Extinction is upon us, and this time the depopulation of the planet is Man’s fault. But the upside of mankind is his mind, and breakthrough technologies could save at least some of the species on the brink of extinction. Through genetic sequencing, futuristic but foreseeable genetic editing technologies and an enormous amount of work, extinct animals could even be resurrected, according to bioinformatics expert David Haussler, professor of biomolecular engineering at the University of California in Santa Cruz, one of whose missions is to collect and study the genomes of as many animal species as possible – for the greater good of humanity.

“At least some animals have remarkable properties in their genes that we are just starting to recognize and understand, which could be of great benefit – like why the naked mole-rat lives five times as long as rats, and doesn’t get cancer, either. That could be a useful trait to study and adopt, if we can,” he explains.

Put otherwise, this “genomic zoo” project aims to sequence the DNA of 10,000 species of animals, with two key end-games in mind: to save the animals and better the lot of humans. For instance, by helping to create better therapies for cancer though better understanding of genetics: “The simple fact is that cancer is caused by DNA mutations, period,” says Haussler. “Most cancers require five or six mutations before they get rolling. Now, for the first time, the mutations behind the disease can be read, which raises hope for targeted therapies.”

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Award-winning biologist offers new hope for species resurrection

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