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Should extinct species stay extinct?

By

Sandra Leander

As scientists develop emerging technologies that allow for the cloning of animals, some researchers believe that efforts should be made to bring back long-extinct species. This endeavor, called “de-extinction,” is drawing much public attention, as well as criticism.

If de-extinction proves possible, researchers could feasibly engineer the DNA from preserved tissues of extinct species and create an approximation of lost species. However, the question remains – should that be done?

In an article published in Slate magazine’s Future Tense, Arizona State University’s Ben Minteer writes that de-extinction is not a conservation strategy and does not reflect a sound conservation ethic. Minteer, an associate professor with ASU’s School of Life Sciences, writes that he believes re-introducing extinct animals could actually undermine current conservation efforts.

In this thought-provoking article, Minteer argues that we cannot simply reverse the mistakes made by human beings by bringing back a few lost animals.

Minteer’s article appears in Future Tense, a collaboration between Arizona State University, New America and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy and culture.

To read more about Ben Minteer and de-extinction, visit the Center for Humans & Nature.