Daily Archives: December 31, 2015

*** How To Clone A Mammoth by Beth Shapiro

Written by a biology professor, How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction is a very serious book about bringing back to life extinct species. It discusses the technical challenges (with, I imagine, simplified discussions of what were for me head-spinning topics such as non-homologous end joining of DNA strands — yikes!),  along with the ecological and ethical questions of whether we should attempt to bring back animals at all. Which animals should we bring back? what problems may be solved or created by bringing them back? It’s a lot more complicated that a touch of genetic engineering. Even if we could bring back the mammoth of the title, how would we manage to bring back enough of them so they could function as they need to, in a group? Could they really change the climate of the Arctic, and, if so, that of the entire planet? A wonderful book, even if you must skip the technical parts.

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