Forget the mammoth: Researchers wondered if the extinct Christmas Island mouse could be revived. I taught them more about important limitations.
Before you think: Why would you want this rat to exist again? They were mainly interested in looking at the possibility. Is this possible in any way? Because if you want to know, it’s really better to start with a mouse than with a giant mouse, tiger, or dodo, according to these researchers.
The answer may be somewhat disappointing if you believe that dinosaurs will walk the earth again someday. Seems like it would never work (and certainly not with dinosaurs).
If you want to bring back an animal, you first need a well-preserved DNA. This is difficult in itself. Then you place the DNA symbol next to the symbol of a related live animal. One is genetically identical as possible. They’ve also done this with a Christmas Island mouse and an existing brown mouse. In theory, you could then adapt the embryonic DNA of the existing animal in such a way that a copy of the extinct animal could grow in the existing animal.
Aside from the ethical discussion, this turns out to be a problem. Because: Not all DNA was easy to read. About 5 percent were poorly understood and therefore cannot be included if you were to give it a try. This means that you will not get 100% Christmas Island Rat. Is that bad? This depends on your goal. Do you just want to make a furry elephant that performs better in the snow? Then fine. But keep in mind that it will never be considered a giant.
In this audio you can hear researcher Tom Gilbert of the University of Copenhagen. You can read more here: Forget the Mammoth – These Researchers Explore Bringing Back the Extinct Christmas Island Rat (They didn’t really want to try this, but it’s a great cup, I got it.) The paper can be found here: Investigating the limits of the genome to end extinction in the Christmas Island rat†
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