Scientists Interested In Resurrecting Ancient Species Warned To Consider Fascist History Of De-Extinction
In 2009, a group of Spanish scientists announced they had briefly resurrected a Pyrenean ibex, a kind of mountain goat that had been extinct for nearly a decade, in the womb of a surrogate animal. More recently, the Harvard University geneticist George Church has taken steps to splice mammoth genes into Asian elephant DNA, in the hopes of one day creating new mammoths in artificial wombs. And on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, the lowly heath hen, which officially went extinct in the early 20th century, might soon experience a genetic second-coming itself. Not everyone thinks all of this resurrection is a good idea, of course, and recent scientific advances in cloning, genetic engineering, in-vitro fertilization, and captive breeding are driving a roiling debate over de-extinction — from its potential for unintended ecological consequences, to its power to distract from the more immediate perils facing species that are still with us.