Futurist Offers Intriguing Concept at TED Conference — Revival of Extinct Species


CBS San Francisco
March 2, 2013

Indroda Dinosaur and Fossil Park, Gandhinagar (Photo By FabSubeject, via Wikimedia Commons)

Speaking from the prestigious TED Conference in Long Beach Wednesday, Sausalito activist Stewart Brand said scientists are developing the ability to reassemble an extinct animal’s genome, and even recreate the animal itself.

Brand, who gained fame after he campaigned to have the original NASA space photos of earth published, and subsequently created the Whole Earth Catalog, said Wednesday that “de-extinction” could be used to help restore organisms and habitats damaged human activity, according to a report in the Marin Independent Journal.

A team of Harvard geneticists are currently working to bring back the passenger pigeon, which has been extinct since 1914, according to the TED website. The passenger pigeon is considered a keystone species because it aided the survival of the buffalo, according to TED. Researchers believe it may now be possible to alter the genetic makeup of a close relative, the band-tailed pigeon, to re-engineer the passenger pigeon.

The Jurassic Park-like science was already used to recreate an extinct variety of wild mountain goat in 2010, but the animal died after just minutes due to a lung defect, reports TED.

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