Friday, August 31, 2012

Bringing back extinct species

In this article in The Atlantic, Rebecca J. Rosen muses on the possibilities of bringing back extinct species, whether we should, and something I hadn't thought of before: if we bring them back via genetic manipulation, should we try to tweak their nature a bit for our preferences or our current environmental conditions? 
The example she uses isn't the best - the California grizzly bear is not an extinct species, just an extirpated population, and we could bring it back any time we wanted just by moving Grizzlies in from other states.  Still, her question of bringing back a predator with a genetic modification that makes them detest human flesh - if such an adjustment is possible - is a good one.  Do we bring an animal back just as it was (my heart says yes, my brain is unsure) or do we try to give evolution a hand and adapt it to a different climate or the presence of humans or whatever else has changed?
Good questions, ones that might really matter in the near future.

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