Carleton University’s Joseph Bennett, assistant professor in the Institute of Environmental Science and Department of Biology, has written a new paper on de-extinction, bringing extinct species back from the dead using genetic technologies.
“It’s now at least theoretically possible to bring extinct species back from the dead. This is Jurassic Park stuff, but for recently-extinct species,” said Bennett. “It’s almost impossible to bring back dinosaurs, but it is possible for species like mammoth, passenger pigeon and plants. De-extinction has been touted as a possible tool to address the global extinction crisis.”
However, Bennett and his co-researchers determined that de-extinction would be a bad investment. The resurrected species would require substantial effort and resources to reintroduce and keep alive in areas where they used to live.
Bennett and his colleagues estimated the cost of re-introducing and maintaining a previously extinct species. Then they balanced the cost against what else could be done with those resources. Their research demonstrates that more species could be saved if the money was spent on the living rather than the dead.
If funds were diverted to resurrecting species, it could be at the cost of letting more species go extinct.
“If that happens, we would be taking one step forward and two back,” said Bennett. “We would be reviving a few species but losing many more.”
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