The potential and pitfalls of de-extinction
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‘De-extinction’ is the nascent discipline that aims to one day literally revive now-extinct species from the dead. Although we have yet to see any successful attempts to truly resurrect an extinct species, several technologies are now in place that might one day provide a plausible solution. Thus, the area is receiving increased attention from both scientists and the general public. However, how far does present technology place us from the ultimate goal? We address the state of the art of several prominent de-extinction methods: back-breeding, cloning, synthetic genomics and genome editing, and discuss some of the major outstanding challenges for each. We also discuss some of the wider challenges facing de-extinction, including both what might constitute the definition of success and what might be needed to successfully take a recreated animal and confer on it the ability to establish itself back in the wild.
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