An international team isolated the delicate DNA molecules of species including the massive "elephant birds" of the genus Aepyorni.
The Proceedings of the Royal Society B research demonstrated the approach also on emu, ducks and the extinct moa.
Some of the extinct species were wiped out by humans. Should we bring them back?
They said: "We show that genetic material is preserved in the eggshell matrix and have successfully imaged the DNA via microscopy.
"Using new techniques we obtain DNA signatures from a variety of fossil eggshells, including the extinct moa and elephant birds and 19,000 year-old old emu."
It isn't clear what the quality is of this DNA. But sequencing of lots of poor quality DNA samples of the same species might allow reconstruction of sequence of sufficient quality as to allow bringing back such a species to life.
I'm less worried about bringing back really large species since they can easily be hunted down and killed if they cause unexpected problems. But restored small species are much more problematic if they live in ways that make them hard to track and kill. A 3 meter high elephant bird that eats vegetation isn't going to get out of control.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2010 March 09 11:53 PM Bioethics Reproduction|