Although the topic is a difficult one, author Beth Shapiro succeeded beautifully in her writing How to Clone a Mammoth to bring this topic down to household level, and make it understandable to any interested non-scientist. The idea of de-extinction has been quite popular, first in science fiction but now in real science. It is possible to bring back extinct species using genetics and biology. One scientist in Siberia even went as far as creating a park for future resurrected mammoths. Nevertheless, de-extinction faces a huge number of problems, not only the many hurdles science is facing but questions of ecology, environmental impacts, potential benefit, cost, as well as the morality.
“In this book, I aim to separate the science of de-extinction from the science fiction of de-extinction.”
The book raises the question of who would decide what to de-extinct? What about possible dangerous pathogens? Shapiro’s writing is excellent, filled with stories such as her Siberian field experience hunting mammoth remains. She walks through the steps of de-extinction simplifying them for our understanding. Such as learning the DNA sequence in an elephant and resurrecting mammoth traits in it, but not cloning the mammoth as a whole. Sketches illustrate concepts, and seventeen inbound photos also help us to visualize her field experience. This is a wonderful read for those interested in the subject.
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