De-Extinction Brings Dead Species Back to Life


| 3/13/2014 3:45:00 PM


Tags: de-extinction, cloning, biotechnology,

DNA

With technology reminiscent of Jurassic Park, scientists plan to revive long-extinct species like the passenger pigeon.

The practice of cloning has long been stigmatized. Although the potential benefits have yet to be definitively weighed against the possible ethical repercussions, according to National Geographic, a technology called de-extinction is now within reach.

In the past decade alone, scientific tools and procedures have improved so that the idea of successfully cloning animals has moved from a vague fantasy to a tenable reality. Environmentalist Stewart Brand has been researching the possibility of bringing back the passenger pigeon, a species hunted to extinction in 1914. Ben Novak is a genetics student heading up the passenger pigeon research for environmentalist Stewart Brand’s Revive & Restore organization. “We’re going to build from scratch the code that is a passenger pigeon, one gene at a time, [and] compare it to its closest relative. Then we’re going to introduce DNA into the living cell of a Band-tailed pigeon,” he explains in a video from TIME Magazine. “When you introduce an extinct animal’s egg cell into a new mother, then you’ve changed the game, which has been done.”