Monday, June 15, 2009

Lunas 25, 31.

COSMOS: Mammoth genome cracked: key to cloning?

How do you feel about genetically recreating extinct creatures?


Anonymous Connor said...

I am for it with a million caveats.

First, like any worthwhile technology, it has the potential for abuse. But given the rate of (for example) environmental degradation, undue caution can be just as damaging as insufficient caution. With this in mind, I think there should be responsible and rigorous oversight.

Second, the retrieval of extinct species, and especially those such as the woolly mammoth, should not come at the expense of efforts to preserve living species like Tasmanian Devils. But often a high-publicity event like this generates awareness and interest that can eclipse issues of cost.

Third, I think that, like the moon landing, this is the first step of a very long-range process that has broad implication for human life and life in general. We can't think of technology as separate from nature and evolution; as a race we evolved our capacity for technology much as sharks evolved disposable teeth. That is, we would be foolish not to use it. 50 years ago, the space program suggested the possibility that humans could live away from Earth; there is still the open possibility that down the road, we may do so, and this has obvious implications for our ability to thrive indefinitely. Likewise, if animals are driven to extinction through human negligence, cosmic bad-luck, or an evolutionary changing-of-the-guard, this presents an opportunity for us to selectively impact processes that are, at the moment, often arbitrary and often have unfortunate results.

In short, yes.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Cody said...

I would say yes, but only within laboratory settings. There are so many factors in the "real world" that can't be controlled, and the effect an extinct species, especially a plant species, would have on its environment.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure. Maybe we can create a few mythical ones while we're at it.
Be really careful with the microbes though.


7:04 PM  

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