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Dodo birds may be coming back - but 'Jurassic Park' is not an option

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 26th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Advances in genetics have made several extinct species able to return to the living. Scientists say they want to bring 24 species of extinct animals back to life, the flightless, humorous dodo bird among them. They say to put thoughts of "Jurassic Park" out of the public's mind, however. They've deemed dinosaur DNA as just too old.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The so called 'de-extinction' of a number of species was discussed at a TEDx conference in Washington D.C. sponsored by National Geographic. Species included the dodo bird, the Carolina Parakeet and the Quagga, a plains zebra which once lived in South Africa. The last Quagga was shot in 1870 and the last in captivity died in 1883.

Panels discussed the ethics of bringing them back to life. Chief among the topics was whether the species were desirable, and if they held an important ecological function or if they were beloved by humans.

Scientists also discussed if they were practical choices, considering whether the species would be able to be reintroduced into the world, taking into account the reasons for extinction were in the first place.

As displayed in the most recent article of National Geographic, de-extinction works by taking old DNA samples and reassembling them into a full genome. This is then injected into embryonic cells which have had their own DNA taken out, and a suitable living surrogate is found to give birth.

It's been done before. A team of scientists from France and Spain brought back an extinct wild goat 10 years ago, but the animal only lived for 10 minutes.

De-extinction raises a number of ethical and logistical questions, including how scientists can get a usable DNA sample from an extinct animal, and also whether they should.

One need only look to that popular 1993 science-fiction film, "Jurassic Park." An adaptation of Michael Crichton's best seller, Steven Spielberg's film told about scientists who use dinosaur DNA taken from a mosquito preserved in amber to clone the animals and create a theme park. The resulting chaos proved that man and dinosaur should not co-exist.

Controversial Australian billionaire, mining magnate Clive Palmer was believed to be drawing up secret plans for a real life Jurassic Park. Palmer has already embarked on a project to rebuild the Titanic, was rumored to be working with the team who created Dolly the sheep.
It was said the park would be based at Palmer's super resort in Coolum.

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