Podcast: From Jurassic Park to woolly mammoths – is it right to bring back extinct species?

c

Geneticist Kat Arney takes a look at the science of de-extinction, asking whether it’s feasible – or even ethical – to bring species back from the past.

In 2003, Spanish researchers used cloning techniques to bring back the recently extinct bucardo (a type of mountain goat), only for the first cloned animal to die within minutes of birth. Other scientists are using genetic engineering techniques to stitch together the genomes of extinct species like passenger pigeons and woolly mammoths with their modern-day relatives.

Could these tools ever be used to bring back the biggest animals of them all, the dinosaurs? And is all this effort really worth it, or should we be focusing on conserving the species we already have on Earth?

Arney also investigates the history of one of the most famous diagrams in biology – the Tree Of Life – which Charles Darwin famously drew in 1837 to illustrate the evolutionary relationships between species.

Related article:  Oxitec's GMO mosquitoes spread their genes in the wild? Separating science from hype after controversial new study

Today’s trees much more complex, bushy thickets, informed by modern genomics. But all this data brings a new challenge: deciding what counts as a species in the first place.

Full transcript, credits and show notes are available here. 

Genetics Unzipped is the podcast from the UK Genetics Society, presented by award-winning science communicator and biologist Kat Arney and produced by First Create the Media.  Follow Kat on Twitter @Kat_Arney, Genetics Unzipped @geneticsunzip, and the Genetics Society at @GenSocUK

Listen to Genetics Unzipped on Apple Podcasts (iTunes) Google Play, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend