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De-extinction: How far should humans go in resurrecting lost species?

| | September 12, 2017

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

The science of resurrecting lost species takes many forms, but collectively it has become known as “de-extinction.” According to advocates like Stewart Brand, de-extinction could soon result in the return of the passenger pigeon to the skies of North America or the woolly mammoth to the forests of Eastern Siberia.

[T]he idea of genetically changing organisms, in the process maybe basically creating new species, does raise an important question about how far we humans should be going in bending the natural world to suit our needs and preferences.

[D]e-extinction is no solution for the extinction crisis. It is too hard to do, and most of the few “successes” would be so limited that they wouldn’t deserve the term “de-extinction.” If you were trying for a wooly mammoth, all you’d be likely to get is a hairy, cold-tolerant Asian elephant. […] And just as a conceptual matter, a species is not something that can be “brought back” or “resurrected,” as some proponents like to say. A species is a lineage of organisms, and once that lineage ends, the species is gone. Period. Even if we created something totally identical to the original mammoth, it would be a human creation, not a “resurrection” of the extinct species.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Digging Deep into De-Extinction

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