Pask, Andrew J. Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
- Genome sequencing
- Assisted reproductive technologies
- Genetic variation
- Suitable habitats
- DNA age limits
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The science of restoring an extinct animal using advanced genetic and reproductive technologies. The concept of de-extinction was science fiction up until the recent advent of advanced genome sequencing platforms. The technological breakthroughs provided by these platforms opened the door for the sequencing of even highly damaged deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) fragments from very old specimens and enabled the sequencing of the Neandertal and mammoth genomes. Both of these projects provided enormous insights into the biology of these amazing species and sparked numerous ancient-DNA explorations in samples of many extinct species. Some of the most highly discussed candidates for de-extinction include the mammoth (Fig. 1), Tasmanian tiger (thylacine; Fig. 2), bucardo (Pyrenean ibex), passenger pigeon, dusky seaside sparrow (Fig. 3), and Australian gastric-brooding frog. Although sequencing the genomes of each of these species has been done or is an achievable goal, there is a huge gap—and one that science has yet to bridge—between defining the genome of an extinct animal and bringing that animal back to life. See also: Ancient DNA; Biodiversity; Biotechnology; Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA); DNA microarray; DNA sequencing; Extinction (biology); Genetic mapping; Genomics; Neandertals; Speciation; Species concept; Thylacine: genetics of an extinct species; Zooarcheology
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