How to Clone A Mammoth

How to Clone A Mammoth

The Science of De-extinction

Book - 2015
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Could extinct species, like mammoths and passenger pigeons, be brought back to life? The science says yes. In How to Clone a Mammoth, Beth Shapiro, evolutionary biologist and pioneer in 'ancient DNA' research, walks readers through the astonishing and controversial process of de-extinction. From deciding which species should be restored, to sequencing their genomes, to anticipating how revived populations might be overseen in the wild, Shapiro vividly explores the extraordinary cutting-edge science that is being used today--to resurrect the past. Journeying to far-flung Siberian locales in search of ice age bones and delving into her own research--as well as those of fellow experts such as Svante Paabo, George Church, and Craig Venter--Shapiro considers de-extinction's practical benefits and ethical challenges. Would de-extinction change the way we live? Is this really cloning? What are the costs and risks? And what is the ultimate goal? Using DNA collected from remains as a genetic blueprint, scientists aim to engineer extinct traits--traits that evolved by natural selection over thousands of years--into living organisms. But rather than viewing de-extinction as a way to restore one particular species, Shapiro argues that the overarching goal should be the revitalization and stabilization of contemporary ecosystems. For example, elephants with genes modified to express mammoth traits could expand into the Arctic, re-establishing lost productivity to the tundra ecosystem. Looking at the very real and compelling science behind an idea once seen as science fiction, How to Clone a Mammoth demonstrates how de-extinction will redefine conservation's future.
Publisher: Princeton, New Jersey Princeton University Press, [2015]
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780691173115
Characteristics: xii, 220 pages, 16 pages of unnumbered plates : illustrations ; 21 cm


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Mar 02, 2020

A very thoughtful read which brings a lot more to the table than just "how to clone a mammoth". Overall a very good experience, my only real criticism is that I think many people who may have an interest in the excellent ecological portion of this book may miss out due to the title.

Sep 18, 2016

I found it boring. The author is a DNA specialist, and not an expert at ecology or the environment. She doesn't provide a compelling argument for reintroducing extinct animals, except that it would boost her budget.


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