by Peter Rejcek, Singularity Hub
Bringing extinct species back to life isn’t a science fiction fantasy anymore, even if the technology isn’t quite ready for prime time.
The newest buzz around the topic of de-extinction is actually a revival of an ongoing effort to return the woolly mammoth to the steppes of Siberia. Sort of.
Various news media recently reported that Harvard geneticist George Church, before the start of the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston last month, claimed his team is just two years away from developing a hybrid embryo. The genetic creation would be mostly Asian elephant, with certain mammoth traits built into the new species.
The concept of de-extinction isn’t new. The first attempt at bringing back a lost species, a wild mountain goat called a bucardo, was made in 2003 after it had gone extinct just three years earlier. The cloned embryo of the bucardo, or Pyrenean ibex, was grown in the lab and then brought to term in the uterus of a goat. It survived for only a few minutes due to defects in its lungs.
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