Reviving Extinct Species

by llaurie.eve on Septembre 18, 2013 - 11:35pm

Cloning has naturally been going on for thousands of years already. Actually, the definition of a clone is a living thing created from another, leading to two organisms with identical DNA. Some examples of the product of DNA replication are the reproducing mode of some plants, the regeneration of earthworms and even the creation of identical twins. However, recent developments provided humans the ability to intentionally create clones by working on cells. Even more recently, Japanese and Russian researchers entered the process of cloning a mammoth. At first sight, it might seem an incredible thing to revive an extinct species, but there are some issues arising from this project. This topic caught my attention because, as I already mentioned in my last blog post, I find that genetics is an exciting topic. Moreover, I think that this specific case is interesting since it implies bringing back to life species that we have never seen before.  An article which is directly related to the topic is “The quest is to clone a mammoth. The question is: should we do it?” by Robin McKie. It gives arguments against the cloning of extinct species and provides deeper information on the subject.

Should scientists try to clone extinct species?

I personally believe that it would be a great thing to bring back extinct species to life. If we could recreate entire communities of these species, we could study them and maybe understand what the cause of their extinction was. I think it’s an important thing to know since all species will eventually disappear. We must not repeat their mistakes in order to avoid human extinction. However, others are convinced that we should not clone extinct species. According to Sir Ian Wilmut, the Edinburgh-based stem-cell scientist, whose team succeeded to clone the first mammal in 1996, most species are highly social creatures that need to interact with friends and neighbour of the same species. Therefore, scientists would have to succeed in cloning not only one, but many animals at the same time, which is practically impossible.  He adds that in order for the species to grow, the embryo has to be implanted in an already existing similar species, but the two species probably won’t be adapted to the same conditions, which is a huge problem. Furthermore, Adrian Lister, professor of the natural history Museum in London argues that there are already enough extinct species due to the lack of resources and that therefore, we should invest our money in conservation of the species we already have.

Cloning animals which are extinct since an incredibly long period of time might be very controversial, but do you think it is the same for the ones that disappeared recently?

About the author