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Don't Bring Extinct Creatures Back to Life

Don't Bring Extinct Creatures Back to Life
The BriefGet Up To Speed

De-extinction describes the process of creating an organism which is a member of, or closely resembles, an extinct species. While this process was once a sci-fi fantasy explored in films like “Jurassic Park,” recent biological and technological breakthroughs indicate that reviving extinct creatures, like the passenger pigeon and the woolly mammoth, could become a reality. De-extinction’s proponents argue that the benefits are many, including correcting mistakes of the past by bringing back extinct ecosystems and organisms and helping to curb climate change. They remind us that all scientific breakthroughs are initially met with skepticism and concern, most of which we now take for granted. But others aren’t so sure de-extinction is ethical, or even feasible, since each creature poses its own unique challenge: Recreating a bird is a very different process from recreating a mammal. And beyond that, some say that the resources and funds necessary for de-extinction would compete with current and vital conservation efforts. After all, they argue, with over 16,000 endangered species on Earth, shouldn’t humans focus on saving them from extinction rather than “playing God?”

"To be honest, I don't really know what to think about this impending test-tube menagerie. Are we going back in time to make things right for a few precious species? Or are we doing this just because we can?"
Sunday, September 7, 2014
CBS News

"In labs around the world, scientists are using gene-editing technology to revive species that disappeared from the face of the earth long, long ago. In this episode, we talk to the researchers working on a project straight out of science fiction."

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Wall Street Journal
"Scientists are debating whether to bring back vanished species."
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Jamie Shreeve
Definitions & Legal Frameworks

"De‐extinction, the idea that extinct species might soon be resurrected, receives considerable attention in both popular and scientific literature, in particular with regard to its potential ecological and ethical consequences."

Friday, June 24, 2016
Beth Shapiro
"Extinction is often defined succinctly as the death of the last individual of a species, and it has always been regarded as irreversible. But, we must now acknowledge an expanding “gray area” in which this simple, traditional definition may be insufficient. There are now several ways a species might be resurrected after the last living individual dies."
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Stanley A. Temple
For (Anti De-extinction)

"For a species that’s been dead for a century, the passenger pigeon is having a pretty good year. A flurry of new books, features, and a major documentary has been roughly timed to commemorate the death of “Martha,” the last surviving member of the species that drew her final breath in the Cincinnati Zoo on Sept. 1, 1914. It’s a kind of national elegy for a bird that no one alive today remembers ever seeing, certainly not in the wild, where it was last spotted around the time shovels first broke ground on the New York subway system."

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Ben A. Minteer

"Advances in genetic engineering have made it possible for scientists to bring back extinct animals, the most promising of which is the woolly mammoth. American and Russian scientists have been working on the project for years, and we are getting closer to making this dream a reality. However, recent research suggests that resurrecting extinct species will not lead to the conservation benefits that many advocates of this procedure have touted."

Friday, March 24, 2017
Kelsey R. Marquart
"Bringing extinct animals back from the dead could hurt existing species, says a new report."
Monday, February 27, 2017
Farnia Fekri

"Sometime in the summer of 1914, probably on September 1st but perhaps a few days earlier, the last passenger pigeon on earth expired."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Elizabeth Kolbert
"Even if reviving extinct species is practical, it’s an awful idea. It would take resources away from saving endangered species and their habitats and would divert us from the critical work needed to protect the planet."
Monday, January 13, 2014
Paul Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich
Against (Pro De-extinction)

"De-extinction, the science of bringing back extinct life, is the subject of the April 2013 cover story of National Geographic magazine. Once only an idea in science fiction, today it is poised to become reality. Researchers working to bring back animals like the passenger pigeon and woolly mammoth discuss the implications of their work."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
national geographic
"Humans helped kill off the giant animals of the Ice Age. We owe it to the ecosystem to restore what we destroyed."
Sunday, October 8, 2017
Katherine DM Clover
"Why should we spend time and resources to bring back species when so many are dying now?"
Thursday, March 1, 2018
Abby Norman

"Just over ten years ago, a little, lanky goat was born at a research facility in Spain. At first glance, the kid was nothing special. She had wobbly legs, tousled fur and toffee-colored eyes, but this goat was unlike any other creature born on the planet. This was the first animal ever to be brought back from extinction."

Thursday, December 15, 2016
Helen Pilcher

"There has been no shortage of buzz about George Church’s work to bring back the woolly mammoth using CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing. It has been the subject of articles and books and soon will be in a feature film. But well before we learn whether Church’s team can pull off the feat, they’ve already produced a surprising unintended consequence. They could save some of today’s endangered elephants from following their hairy cousins into extinction."

Sunday, February 25, 2018
Britt Wray

"'Woolly mammoths' could be brought back from extinction within two years, the scientists behind a groundbreaking resurrection project have said."

Friday, February 17, 2017
Sarah Knapton

"If you had dreams of riding a woolly mammoth through 2019 after reading headlines this week that ‘Wooly mammoth will be back from extinction within two years’, you might want to change your plans. It’s not going to happen."

Friday, February 17, 2017
Mary Beth Griggs

"There has been a lot of buzz of late about bringing back extinct species like mammoths or passenger pigeons. While it might be a good idea to start thinking about these possibilities, we are years or even decades away from being able to actually pull this off with most long dead animals."

Monday, March 25, 2013
Barry Starr

"Even if the technology can bring back the northern white rhinoceros, should we do it?"

Thursday, May 24, 2018
Steph Yin

"Over the millennia, animals have gone extinct on Earth for many different reasons. Sometimes it’s because of a dramatic shift in the climate. Other times it was because of human intervention."

Friday, January 20, 2017
Lindsay Dodgson

"Like the dodo and the great auk, the Tasmanian tiger is more renowned for the tragedy of its death than for its life, about which little is known. Enthusiasts hope it will be a Lazarus species—an animal considered lost but then found."

Monday, July 2, 2018
Brooke Jarvis

"Animal cloning is becoming more common – and cloning extinct species could be on the horizon. Could parks and zoos for these creatures be round the corner?"

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Christine Ro
"Animal cloning is becoming more common – and cloning extinct species could be on the horizon. Could parks and zoos for these creatures be round the corner?"
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Julia Zarankin
"The DNA, found in museum and frozen specimens, would boost the species’s diversity."
Monday, August 1, 2016
David Biello

"Dodos are an icon of extinction, but could we bring them back? We meet scientists working at every stage of the problem, from sequencing the genome to creating life."

Monday, December 4, 2017
Marnie Chesterton

"The Living Planet Report, WWF’s flagship publication released every two years, is a comprehensive study of trends in global biodiversity and the health of the planet. The Living Planet Report 2018 is the twelfth edition of the report and provides the scientific evidence to what nature has been telling us repeatedly: unsustainable human activity is pushing the planet’s natural systems that support life on Earth to the edge."

Monday, January 1, 2018
World Wildlife Fund
"Scientists say creating hybrids of the extinct beasts could fix the Arctic tundra and stop greenhouse gas emissions."
Monday, May 14, 2018
Paul Mann

"Conservation has done 40 years of 'Save the pandas, save the rhinos; if they go extinct, everything's going to hell.' It's been a lot of doom-and-gloom, without a lot of emphasis on, 'Here's a problem. How do we solve it?'" says Ben Novak, lead researcher on a project aiming to bring back the passenger pigeon from extinction."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Ben Novak
"Rapid alteration of gene pools could fight disease – and harm ecosystems."
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Heidi Ledford

"Extinction might not be forever if synthetic biologists and others pursue their proposals to use advanced genetic engineering techniques to save endangered species and return extinct ones."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Kent H. Redford, William Adams, and Georgina M. Mace
"But just because we can, does it mean we should? And what might the environmental and conservation impacts be if we did?"
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Gwenllian Lacona and Iadine Chadès
Ethics & Moral Hazard
Hank Greely speaks about de-extinction at TEDxDeExtinction. He is the Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law and Professor, by courtesy, of Genetics at Stanford University. He specializes in ethical, legal, and social issues arising from advances in the biosciences. 
Monday, April 1, 2013
Hank Greely

A Hastings Center Special Report on De-Extinction. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Gregory E. Kaebnick and Bruce Jennings

"There’s a saying, in conservation biology, credited to the plant ecologist Frank Egler: Ecosystems are not just more complex than we think, they’re more complex than we can think."

Friday, October 13, 2017
Britt Wray
"In central Kenya, three of the world’s four remaining Northern white rhinos are stubbornly refusing to mate. Since 2009, conservationists have tried and failed to coax the animals together—and with the lone male nearing his 43rd birthday, too old to breed, extinction is inevitable. It’s a matter of time before the remaining beasts die off, one by one. So in the meantime, in San Diego, scientists are working to resurrect them."
Monday, November 9, 2015
Wired Staff
"De-extinction of species has been criticised for being unnatural, as have the techniques that might be used to accomplish de-extinction. This objection of unnaturalness will be dismissed by those who claim that everything that humans do is natural, by those who claim that naturalness is a social construct, and by those who argue that ethical concerns arising from considerations of unnaturalness rest on a failure properly to distinguish facts from values."
Thursday, June 1, 2017
Carolyn Mason
Cloning, CRISPR, & Gene-Editing

"Enter CRISPR. Precise and inexpensive to produce, this small molecule can be programmed to edit the DNA of organisms right down to specific genes."

Sunday, January 20, 2019
Mat Reynolds
"Regulators seem to be learning from that earlier overreaction. This month the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it would for the most part not regulate new crops created with CRISPR. That decision opens the way for development of a vibrant new biotech crop and seed industry."
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Ronald Bailey
"New gene-editing technology could revive everything from the passenger pigeon to the woolly mammoth. But should scientists be playing God?"
Thursday, October 11, 2018
"Birds and bees are just the beginning for a burgeoning technology."
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Sara Reardon

"Hong Kong, China—On the eve of an international summit here on genome editing, a Chinese researcher has shocked many by claiming to have altered the genomes of twin baby girls born this month in a way that will pass the modification on to future generations. The alteration is intended to make the children’s cells resistant to infection by HIV, says the scientist, He Jiankui of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China."

Monday, November 26, 2018
Dennis Normile
"But ultimately, eliminating the most persistent diseases and causes of poverty will require scientific discovery and technological innovations. That includes CRISPR and other technologies for targeted gene editing. Over the next decade, gene editing could help humanity overcome some of the biggest and most persistent challenges in global health and development."
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Bill Gates