CRISPR Could Resurrect the Dead

Gene-editing breakthroughs could allow us to bring extinct species, like the woolly mammoth, back from the dead. But should we?

Science has already unraveled the DNA code of long-dead species such as the woolly mammoth, the passenger pigeon and Australia’s iconic Tasmanian tiger — and now, pioneering researchers are using CRISPR to remake modern-day descendants in the image of their ancient counterparts. Could we transform an Asian elephant into a woolly mammoth? We are marching toward that reality.

“The CRISPR revolution is the whole reason why we’ve been having these conversations about de-extinction,” says Ben Novak, a biologist working on restoring the extinct passenger pigeon.

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