60 Minutes on “Resurrecting the Extinct”
60 Minutes re-aired a story from January this past Sunday on using reproductive cloning techniques to bring extinct animals (like the mammoth) back to life and save endangered species. By culling the tissues and hairs of extinct animals stored in museums or preserved naturally, some scientists think that they will be able to use somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) to resurrect the animals. To demonstrate feasibility, the segment explores the work of Dr. Betsy Dresser, who specializes in interspecies cloning and advocates using this controversial approach to preserve and replicate endangered animals.
Efforts to save endangered wildlife are certainly important. But the segment’s underlying tone of inevitability – both in discussing endangered species’ eventual disappearance and framing cloning as the only/best solution – obscures reproductive cloning’s bumpy scientific history and the feasibility of less radical approaches (such as habitat preservation and environmental protection) for saving endangered animals.
Previously on Biopolitical Times