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Thread: dying species

  1. #1 dying species 
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    ok this is probably a very stupid question, but here goes. many species are dying out and so we might never see them again but we are also advancing in genetics, so why don't the researchers just make these animals in vitro? or even take DNA samples and wait till we find a way to reproduce them??


    ps:He who asks a question may be a fool for five minutes. But he who never asks a question remains a fool forever.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Preserving their DNA might be a distinct possibility, but preserving, or reproducing, the natal environment may be impossible. That's the problem.


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  4. #3  
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    There are many labs keeping genomes of endangered species stored (& can make them again) but the problem is they need to keep multiple genomes of the species to ensure there is enough genetic diversity to maintain the species.

    The interesting thing is they have found that some animals can be bor of other animals, eg a sheep can give birth to a pig if the fertilised embryo is implanted correctly, so this is a method which is being advanced/used for reproducing endangered species.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    It's a bit tricky to go from DNA sample to a new animal.

    One thing that is missing for instance with extinct species are wombs.

    You can't grow an embryo in vitro forever. It needs to go into a nice cozy womb asap!

    Sometimes there are substitute species that can provide the womb. Sometimes not.
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  6. #5  
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    It is a good thought and could very well be a possibility, but there are some complications.

    Firstly, the endangerment of species is caused largely by the loss of habitat, so the dwindling population of bird X is often more of effect of the destruction of its natural habitat than other factors. What is the point in having a bunch of animals if they have nowhere to life?

    In addition, a mass breeding of the few remaining members of an endangered species would mean that there would be a lot of identical organisms running around. Reproduction between these new organisms would mean mass inbreeding, which can bring out genetic diseases, birth defects, and mutations. This idea may sound logical, but might not benefit the species in the long run.

    You have a good point, and it may be an important component of a much larger solution one day, but I don't think that this alone will solve the problem in the long run.
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  7. #6  
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    As you see, it's impossible to know exactly how many species are dying out every day. A thing for cetain is that the number must be huge. Thus it's as unpredictable as for how many new species appear on Earth each day.
    I do believe genetic engineering would some day become the "solution" for saving endangered species. However, the point is, it's never a nice idea to start relying on the technology. If we have time or money for this kind of researches and development, why not use most of the resources and efforts to really reserve the precious species at first place? Agreed?
    "Great target begins with smaller ones"
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  8. #7  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    It's natural for species to go extinct.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  9. #8  
    Forum Ph.D. Wolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emmenite
    Firstly, the endangerment of species is caused largely by the loss of habitat, so the dwindling population of bird X is often more of effect of the destruction of its natural habitat than other factors. What is the point in having a bunch of animals if they have nowhere to life?
    True. Although some species came to the brink of extinction (or became extinct) because of other causes, such as poisons, pollutants, or hunting. This might be a viable stepping-stone area for new populations to be made.


    There's also another issue with creating more of an endangered species. One big problem facing the tiger conservation efforts is deciding what to do. The animal is hunted to extremes. We could clone a bunch of tigers and release them into the wild to boost the numbers, but this might make poachers (and the governments that ignore them) more active against the tigers. "Why can't I shoot them? There are lots of them now." There's also the other side of the problem. There's HUGE stockpiles of confiscated tiger parts taken from poachers. One idea has been to flood the market with these parts, thereby drastically dropping the prices for the parts, and hopefully killing the market all together. The problem with that is that it may cause a boom in demand, negating the influx of parts and causing the sudden extinction of the few remaining animals.


    The other issue, already discussed here in other people's posts, is what do you do with the newborn critters? Many endangered species are endangered because their reproduction rates are slow, and their offspring mature slowly. Some animals, such as polar bears or tigers, live with their offspring for years before the young become independent. Is there a system in place to handle this need?


    Maybe a better solution (aside from ramping up the war on poaching to an effective level) would be to develop ways to cause endangered creatures to produce more quickly, and more successfully?
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  10. #9  
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    The main problem with doing that is that it hugely decreases the gene pool and biodiversity of a species, if you release a large number of cloned tigers, (of which you will of course have quite a bit of genetically identical tigers) it leaves the species a lot more vunerable.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emmenite
    Reproduction between these new organisms would mean mass inbreeding, which can bring out genetic diseases, birth defects, and mutations.
    Isn't birth defects and mutations the means for species to evolve? If an organism has Trait X ,which came about through a slight alteration of the DNA, could survive better than other species, wouldn't this Trait X be most likely passed down and cause the species to undergo evolution?

    And for the original question, I don't think that religious people would be happy if the scientist started to 'Play God' again. There's already much protest when they started cloning dead pets.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    It's a bit tricky to go from DNA sample to a new animal.

    One thing that is missing for instance with extinct species are wombs.

    You can't grow an embryo in vitro forever. It needs to go into a nice cozy womb asap!

    Sometimes there are substitute species that can provide the womb. Sometimes not.
    You can borrow my womb if you want.

    It's not doing anything useful at the moment except being a wasteful pain!
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  13. #12  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Send it with fedex.

    Make sure you put it on ice.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  14. #13  
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    At least with bigger animals like tigers, there's also the difficulty of introducing the animals into the wild. I believe this is what keeps organisations from breeding these animals conventionally and releasing them as adults.
    ...Wait, what?
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