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Advancements in Biotechnology

Bringing Animals Back from the Grave

By Alyssa HornPublished 6 years ago 4 min read

It is no secret that we have come a long way with technological advancements within our society. But now there are rumors of possibly bringing back extinct animals…could biotechnology be advanced enough today to complete such a task? Scientists think that it could be done. For those of you that do not know, extinction is when a species of animals dies off; like dinosaurs for instance… The passenger pigeon, the dodo, and the woolly mammoth are just a few of the species wiped off the Earth by changing environments and human activities. Could you imagine walking outside to find a woolly mammoth walking through your yard? The recent advances in biotechnology could enable bringing certain species back from the grave, but critics are arguing that the practice would only hinder conservation efforts by resurrecting creatures that could of course not survive in the wild that they are not used to.

Woolly Mammoth

The first experiment is being done on the Passenger Pigeon, which died off in 1914. However, you cannot clone the passenger pigeon because they no longer have fully intact genomes. Although there is another way: by using fragments of its DNA, the scientists can synthesize the genes for certain traits and splice the genes together into the genome of a rock pigeon. Then the cells containing the passenger pigeon DNA could be transformed into cells that produce eggs as well as sperm, which could be injected into the rock pigeon eggs. Thus the pigeons that would hatch would be rock pigeons, but their offspring would resemble passenger pigeons. The scientists could then breed these birds and select specific traits.

As far as the woolly mammoth; well-preserved mammoths have been reported to have been dug out of the Siberian Tundra containing bone marrow, skin, hair, and fat. If a living mammoth were found then it could be grown in a lab and coaxed to form an embryo. The embryo could then be implanted into the mammoths closet living relative which is the elephant. The elephant would then give birth to a baby mammoth.

The challenges aren’t trifling. Even if researchers succeed in creating a mammoth, passenger pigeon, or other extinct animals, it still has to survive in the wild. This means it has to have the right food as well as the habitat. And it would need to be able to evade predators. Especially humans.

There are at least twenty-five animals total that scientists would like to de-extinct. But here are just a few:

  1. The Tasmanian Tiger-Went extinct in the 1960’s for reasons that are still unknown
  2. Saber-toothed Cat called The Smilodon (resembles a tiger)- Went extinct 10,000 years ago by the end of the last ice age. It used to reside in North America.
  3. The Mastodon- Lived in Central and North America before becoming extinct about 12,000 years ago.

Those are just a few added to the other two that were previously named at the beginning of my article. Of course with many scientific advances, there are controversies and this one is no different.

Some debates are stating that in basic terms what is dead should stay dead because everything dies for a reason. And bringing back these animals would somehow disrupt our already crumbling ecosystem. This is if they survive; which there is no guarantee that they would. Then there are others that are arguing that it is cruel to bring something back not knowing if it will survive or not. To bring it back just to watch it die is un-ethical according to a few scientists.

On the other hand, there are people that think it is a great idea. Personally, I think that we are playing with things that we don’t really understand and I agree that it isn’t ethical to bring back something just to watch it die. Logically I feel I would be better if they knew it would work for sure. But then again what if the scientist can pull it off and they decide to try for dinosaurs. Granted dinosaur DNA is so old that it is almost unusable but what if they could figure a way to pull it off. There would be nothing stopping them (just some food for thought)


About the Creator

Alyssa Horn

I am a broke college student that is pretty much alone in the world. I'm working on my bachelor's in psychology and then I am going to start my Master's as well as a degree in anthropology. plus I love to write.

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