Summary & Study Guide - Rise of the Necrofauna by Lee Tang

The Science, Ethics, and Risks of De-Extinction

The must-read summary of “Rise of the Necrofauna: The Science, Ethics, and Risks of De-Extinction,“ by Britt Wray.

Summary & study guide - rise of the necrofauna

The Truth About De-Extinction

The must-read summary of “Rise of the Necrofauna: The Science, Ethics, and Risks of De-Extinction,“ by Britt Wray.

Necrofauna is a term used by futurist Alex Steffen to refer to species that were extinct but have been recreated by the process of de-extinction.

In Rise of the Necrofauna, Britt Wray introduces us to renowned scientists who try to revive extinct species like woolly mammoths and passenger pigeons. She explains why de-extinction is important to our ecosystem but reminds us it could bring many dangers as it does opportunities. By raising the many cultural, ethical, environmental, legal, social, and philosophical issues raised by this new science, Wray offers an enthralling look at the best and worst of de-extinction.

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Read this summary to discover the truth about de-extinction and how it might shape a better future for life.

Genre: STUDY AIDS / Study Guides

Secondary Genre: NATURE / Endangered Species

Language: English

Keywords: endangered species, extinction, woolly mammoths, passenger pigeons, de-extinction, genetic engineering, CRISPR

Word Count: 9,800

Sample text:

For centuries, passenger pigeons flew across North America in flocks, billions at a time. But by the end of the nineteenth century, the number of pigeons had dwindled. The last passenger pigeon died in the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914.

In May 2011, the renowned environmentalist, Stewart Brand, emailed Geneticist George Church enquiring the feasibility of bringing back the extinct passenger pigeons. Church is a professor at Harvard Medical School and MIT, and the head of the Personal Genome Project in the U.S. He responded promptly, detailing how they could bring back billions of passenger pigeons to the North American skies. Excited about the possibility, Stewart Brand and his wife, Ryan Phelan, founded a nonprofit called Revive & Restore and brought researchers around the world who were interested in de-extinction. Their mission: “to enhance biodiversity through the genetic rescue of endangered and extinct species.”

Genetic rescue uses technology to restore impoverished ecosystems. It has three layers. The first layer is to determine what makes the species vulnerable to extinction at the gene level. The second layer is to edit the species’ genome to make it less vulnerable to extinction. The third layer is to transfer the edited genome to a related species, creating a genetically modified species. Genetic rescue on extinct species is called de-extinction.


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