Have you ever wondered if it was possible to bring species that have gone extinct back to life?
Would it not be a dream come true if extinct creatures could once again roam the earth? Scientific advancements have made it possible to explore cloning extinct species and while it may be possible, it is still a controversial subject and has sparked a lot of debate. This article looks at the issue of bringing back extinct creatures in detail, looking at the pros and cons as well as discussing what progress has been made so far.
What does “de-extinction” mean?
De-extinction is the process of bringing extinct species back to life by using ancient DNA. Through this advanced science, it is possible to combine the ancient DNA with a host species with similar genetic code, in the hopes of reviving the species.
Pros of Bringing Time Extinct Species back to Life
There are several advantages to bringing extinct species back to life:
• It could bring back biodiversity as it is believed that when species go extinct they take with them types of biodiversity that can’t be brought back.
• There have been discoveries of species traits in the dried tissues of extinct species that could potentially be beneficial in medical research.
• It could provide tourist attractions as people would be interested in visiting places with extinct species in the wild.
• It could help to reduce the pressures of habitat destruction on endangered species by creating another place for these species to thrive.
• It could reduce the number of endangered species in the world.
Cons of Bringing Extinct Creatures Back to Life
Of course, there are also some downsides to bringing extinct species back to life:
• It is expensive and could take a long time, taking away money and resources from protecting endangered species in the present.
• It is a difficult process and may not always be successful.
• There is no guarantee that the species will thrive in their new environment, as their habitat may have changed and new predators may have evolved.
• There could be ethical and moral implications, as in some cases it may not be appropriate to bring back certain species that are now extinct.
• It could lead to a decrease in biodiversity as the reintroduced species may compete with native species.
• There could be unforeseen consequences as no one knows what could happen if extinct species are brought back.
Progress that has been made so far in Bringing Back Extinct Creatures
In recent years, scientific advancements have made it possible to explore cloning extinct species. Although this is still controversial, some progress has been made:
• In 2013, a Pyrenean ibex – or bucardo – was cloned in a laboratory. However, the animal died after seven minutes due to a defect in the lungs.
• In 2015, scientists attempted to clone an endangered mountain goat, the Pyrenean ibex. This project failed as the eggs were not viable for cloning.
• In 2009, the Revive & Restore project, a non-profit organization, was established with the aim of using cloning and genetic engineering to revive species that have gone extinct in the last 100 years.
• In 2016, the Australian government began to back a project to clone the extinct Bramble Cay melomys, the only mammal believed to have gone extinct due to human-caused climate change.
Bringing extinct creatures back to life is a very controversial topic. While it could be beneficial in terms of bringing back biodiversity and helping to reduce the number of endangered species in the world, it is still a difficult process and could have unforeseen consequences. Progress has been made in recent years with regards to cloning extinct species, but it is still a long way off. Nevertheless, this is an issue which continues to be explored and which may become a reality at some point in the future.