Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Should we bring extinct species back from the dead?

Extinction has been happening for millions of years, and happens almost every single day. Whether it be a mass extinction of many different species, or a small extinction of just one small group of a species. These extinctions have a huge impact on our ecosystem and environment, so extinctions are not a positive event. Most of the time, it is us, humans, who are causing these extinctions to happen.

"De-extinction" is the process of bringing back an extinct species. For many years scientists have been wondering and working towards the de-extinction of certain species. Two of the species they feel would be very important are the woolly mammoth and the passenger pigeon. These two species had a very important impact on our environments and the food chain. If scientists really believe these species could better our environment, and only do this for environmental reasons; I think they should do it. 

Since there have been many great advances in genetic engineering scientists truly think this is something that could happen sooner, rather than later. There are quite a few methods they have in mind in order to de-extinct an animal. The first option is back-breeding; they would try to selectively breed until they come up with a species as closely similar to the extinct species. The second option is cloning; this process is done by taking a preserved cell from the extinct species, extracting that nucleus, and implanting that nucleus into an egg cell of a living, common species. A third and newest option is genetic engineering. This involves using the CRISPR and gene-editing tools to ultimately swap genes between the extinct species and living species. 


  1. I have never heard of de-exinction but it sounds very interesting! Although it may have some benefits for our environment, I wonder if it can cause a disturbance in the food chain as well? Especially since de-extinction has not happened yet, wouldn't the food chain abrutbly be effected? The thought of bringing back certain species also arises the thought of bringing in diseases held by these species. Its a very fascinating process nonetheless!

  2. Interesting article Jamie! It's funny to think that one day there could potentially be Wooly Mammoths roaming the Tundras once again. I don't exactly know the environmental implications for the Wooly Mammoths but if scientists are able to bring such an organism back from extinction, there could be other implications as well. For example, maybe scientists could bring back other vegetation from earlier history to help regulate the atmosphere and potentially rebuild our ozone.