Nathaniel Rich's Article: A Helix-Shaped Maze

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A Helix-Shaped Maze Genetic engineering is a concept that induces terrifying reactions in many people. Visions of disgusting and inhuman mutations tend to flash across the minds of those adamantly against any form of bioengineering. Genetic engineering is a science that is used to manually add DNA into an organism. The world has practiced forms of genetic modification for centuries from the simple to the extreme. Humans turned wolves into common household pets with a technique called selective breeding. Similarly, farmers turned an inedible weed into corn over years of careful and subtle manipulations. Now, science is changing drastically every day as new technologies are discovered. In one lifetime, we have seen a sheep cloned, different…show more content…
Scientists will be able to repopulate devastated ecosystems caused by humans. For example, a consequence of climate change resulted in predictions that estimate 15-40% of currently living species will be extinct by 2050. (Thomas, Roemer, Donlan, Dickson, Matocq, and Malaney). In his article, “The Mammoth Cometh,” Nathaniel Rich reports on the efforts of a group of scientists to bring back the extinct passenger pigeon as an attempt to diversify our current ecosystem. The entire de-extinction project relies on genetic engineering. If the team succeeds, then a whole world of new possibilities will open up. We would be able to bring back extinct species that our ecosystem may need to keep nature in balance. However, this projects seems more like a science fiction novel. The process of de-extinction is lengthy and unreliable and is not a stable option to help the environment. On the other hand, genetic engineering methods have the possibility of saving endangered species instead of bringing animals back from the dead. The article “Ecology: Gene tweaking for conservation” talks about the possibilities of a technique called facilitated adaptation, a process of giving an endangered species adaptive genetics that would aid in its survival. We could instead take a group of animals that have a diminished natural habitat, insert genes that could help them withstand the cold better, run faster, or have a more diverse diet to be able to successfully relocate to a thriving ecosystem. This new research not only helps endangered species and struggling ecosystems, it helps us better understand each species and what they need to
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