Micro Life Zone
Asked by kodeman to DJ, Kyler, Mia, Mick, Peter on 27 Aug 2013.
Keywords: extinct, geneticengineering
Scientists are actually trying that right now! We have preserved DNA from wooly mammoths and from passenger pigeons, and they are trying to put that DNA into eggs from elephants and regular pigeons, respectively (I don’t think it would work the other way around). This process has yet to succeed, but I see no reason why it is in-principle impossible to make something un-extinct.
@kodeman: De-extinction (bringing extinct animals back into existence) is a really interesting topic. It raises lots of ethical questions (is it right?) about bringing back animals that probably won’t ever be able to exist in the wild on their own.
Scientists have to think about those moral questions a lot. Any scientific research that is done on animals in Australia has to be approved by a group of people (made up of a vet, a scientist, someone who knows lots about animal welfare and someone who is not an expert about science or animals) before the research can begin. It’s called an Animal Ethics Committee. As a scientist, even if I just want to observe a group of animals (say, birds in the wild) – I have to fill out an application which they will read, discuss and then decide if I should be allowed to go and do it.
So even if we have the technology and capability to bring these animals back from extinction, there are more questions – should we? What will life be like for these animals if they come back? Where will they live? How will they learn to take care of themselves? Who will raise them? Feed them? House them? Protect them from predators? Would the animals enjoy the life we’d bring them back to or are we just doing it for our own entertainment – and is that enough of a reason to do it?
What animal would you like to see come back from extinction?
I am looking forward to the time when we understand DNA enough to feed a description of the DNA of a dinosaur into a computer and finally know what colour its skin is.
By BRIDGE8 under license from Mangorolla CIC 2019