Resurrecting extinct species

According to National Geographic, developments in genetic technology have made it possible to resurrect extinct species. I think the idea of resurrection is a phenomenal concept. The idea of dodo birds and Carolina parakeets alive once again, raises curiosity and wonderment. Bringing back extinct species will undo harm caused by humans from hunting in the past. Resurrecting extinct species is beneficial because it provides biodiversity. With biodiversity, diminished ecosystems can be restored and the resurrection of extinct species helps to advance science.

Recovering a species may take decades and won’t always turn out to be successful. I see sustaining biodiversity to be just as important as preventing extinction for animals that are endangered. Increasing biodiversity raises productivity of ecosystems as well. Every single organism has an important role in the ecosystem. The greater diversity of species, the better natural life can sustain balance. An unbalanced ecosystem will result in the loss of more species. A few extinct species were significant bases in some regions.

For example, woolly mammoths were the main herbivore of the far north. When they became extinct, grasslands that were once sustained by them became a tundra with a boreal forest. Biodiversity is crucial because ecological services make life on Earth sustainable for every species. I believe that by resurrecting extinct species, biodiversity can have a large range of species to help sustain Earth’s ecosystem.

Technology continues to advance through resurrection by improving genetic engineering. It’s not possible to resurrect a dinosaur because their species are completely extinct and there is no DNA that can be recovered. On the other hand it is possible to resurrect a woolly mammoth since it went extinct about 3,000 to 10,000 years ago which is early enough to recover DNA. In 2006, Hendrik Poinar, a molecular evolutionary geneticist and biological anthropologist began a project in his lab to resurrect a woolly mammoth. Poinar began by mapping out big areas of the woolly mammoth’s genome with a high input DNA sequencer. Analyzing the woolly mammoth’s DNA is important because as soon as an organism dies, their DNA to decay. “You’ll never really create an exact genome because when you have short fragments there are no good ways to know how many repeats of sequences there are,” said Poinar.

Scientists are able to compare the fragments to one another and find overlapping areas. Then they bit as much of the DNA strand as they can. With this information a woolly mammoth’s DNA can be mapped to its closest living relative, the Asian elephant. “We can in theory use that information to modify existing chromosomes with what we imagine to be mammoth substitutions,” proposed Poinar. Theoretically, the woolly mammoth’s DNA could be embedded in a female Asian elephant’s womb. The outcome of birth would be an elephant-mammoth hybrid. Once the formula is precise, the offspring may be “a mammoth in the eye of the beholder,” stated Poinar.

Many medical findings that increase life spans or cure diseases were created through animal and plant biology and genetics. Whenever genetics are absent from a species going extinct, researchers go on never knowing if a new vaccine or drug could be created which contradicts the idea of advancing science. Preventing extinction of a species could give scientists different insights of natural resources that are not presently available. The importance of genetic diversity evades diseases. This helps species adapt to their environment. Advancement in science can also be applied to endangered species as well.

I think resurrecting extinct species is beneficial to biodiversity. Ecosystems can be greatly improved and science that prevents extinction advances each step of the way. New medical cures and vaccines may be discovered through resurrection of species and restoration ofe ecosystems. I think undoing the harm humans have caused to drive these species into decline can be undone through genetic technology. This concept can also be applied to species that are endangered. Through these technological advancements, I believe big steps can be made for the environment, medical findings and science.