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Will a species extinct for > 1000 years be brought back by 2025?


The synthetic biology industry has boomed over the last twenty years. Presaged by Michael Crichton's 1990 novel Jurassic Park, serious discussion has begun as to whether it is possible (or advisable) to revive extinct species for which a sequenced genome can be recovered.

Pet cloning services and fully-synthetic organisms, once the domain of science fiction, are now a reality. The dinosaurs of Michael Chrichton's imagination may be a longshot, but due to the preservation-friendly climate of their natural habitat, the woolly mammoth appears to be a strong candidate for "de-extinction": there have been dozens of documented findings of intact frozen mammoths, dating back as early as 1700. Efforts thus far have yielded many news stories but little in the way of demonstrable success. However, some recent advances in genetic engineering tools like CRISPR/Cas9 have allowed for some intermediate progress; one group reported that they had successfully cloned woolly mammoth genes into a modern-day elephant.

Studies like these seem to be bolstering confidence in the scientific and business communities, but the obstacles lying before them are far greater than simply research or money. The human capability to revive a long-dead species has moral implications that have just barely been explored: do we have a right to bring back such species? Or even a duty, considering that homo sapiens probably cause many of them to go extinct? These become particularly poignant when considering bringing back a species such as neanderthals.

On a ten-year timescale, will there be a successful attempt at cloning the full, functional genome of a species extinct for more than 1,000 years (like the woolly mammoth)?

Resolution is positive if a mammal, reptile, or avian species extinct for over 1,000 years is full reconstructed in one or more living examples of age at least 3 months from birth.

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