The subject of extinction and de-extinction are much in the news at the moment, but discussions tend to focus on the loss or resurrection of charismatic animals like tigers or tyrannosaurs. Where is the talk of the plant species that have been lost and that might be worth bringing back? Is this simply an example of anti-plant discrimination or is there some other reason?
A multitude of plant species have been lost in past mass extinction events and we may currently be in the middle of a sixth mass extinction driven by our own activities. Which plant species would make good candidates for resurrection? For the spectacle alone Araucaria mirabilis would be a contender. These pine trees grew in the Jurassic period and are preserved in great numbers in Cerro Cuadrado Petrified Forest, Patagonia. They grew up to 100 m tall and had cones almost 10 cm in length.
The idea of using genetic engineering to de-extinct lost species may sound farfetched and there are substantial barriers to overcome before we will see live examples of Tasmanian tigers or dodos. But the exact same approaches being applied to those projects are available in plant biology and the techniques of plant breeding may make it easier for budding phytoresurrectionists to exhume their extinct species of choice.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Jurassic Bark