In this interview on National Geographic, Simon Worrall speaks to science writer Maura O’Connor, author of Resurrection Science: Conservation, De-Extinction And The Precarious Future of Wild Things, who believes that in the next decade excting species could be brought back to life.
What Novak and his team at the University of California, Santa Cruz, hope to do is use the genetic material of its nearest living relative, the fantailed pigeon. There’s no frozen tissue so you can’t clone a passenger pigeon. By using genetic editing tools they’ll alter the DNA of a fantailed pigeon to passenger pigeon DNA.
Once they’ve been able to genetically modify a fantailed pigeon, they hope to incubate that genetic material in other fantailed pigeons to produce passenger pigeons.
If everything progresses as Novak hopes, we might have a passenger pigeon again in ten years. But there’s a whole other process of trying to figure out how you teach this animal to be a passenger pigeon. It’s not just DNA. There’s also animal culture and the relationship between ecology and species. And it’s far from clear that scientists understand how they could bring back those types of relationships.
|“A photograph of the last male northern white rhinoceros.”|
|"In nature, good homes are all too rare."|
|Where to Park Your Dog|
|“Regular exposure to humans results in white patches in the fur.”|
|Oceans' Acidity Has Increased to the Point Where Sea Snails' Shells are Dissolving|
|“Google and Facebook figured out how to commodify 'reality' itself by tracking what people do.”|
|“New York Central trains in the Hudson River valley in 1928 and 1929”|
|“The latest warning sign for cities who are considering signing over public spaces to major tech companies.”|
|“Scientific evidence that digital distraction is damaging our minds.”|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|“Buying a new smartphone every two years is taking a toll on the planet.”|
|"Waymo is reportedly planning to take the next step towards offering a commercial driverless car service in early December."|
|“Bias, error, and misuse of Artificial Intelligence technologies.”|
|“We need to make algorithms transparent, regulated, and forgiving of the flawed creatures that converse with them.”|
|“Forget reading the book of life—we’re now learning how to write it.”|