|4 out of 5 stars|
This was a very interesting read, it covered a lot of ground—not just scientific issues, but the moral & ethical issues surrounding the subject too. I found it to be quite balanced—not overly enthusiastic about cloning but not scared to death of the prospect either.
The most interesting things I learned?
- Birds cannot be cloned. But there are other ways that they can be genetically modified, as the chicken farming industry has discovered.
- The closest living relative to the mammoth is the Indian elephant
- There is a Pleistocene Park in Siberia and the animals in it are certainly changing the vegetation (in a good way, if you think the tundra should be greener & more lush)
- The only DNA you get out of animals trapped in amber is fungal DNA (sorry Jurassic Park).
- Working with ancient DNA is very difficult because it is so easily contaminated and there is modern DNA just hanging in the air, waiting to contaminate everything!
- The most likely scenario is to splice mammoth genes into the elephant genome and produce a mammoth-like animal which could play the same ecological role as the ancient animal did.
A very interesting read, especially as I went to the movie Jurassic World on the weekend (the SeaWorld like scene with the Mosasaur is awesome and I finally learned why my online women friends are enthusiastic about Chris Pratt). Plus, I heard on the radio this morning that cattle geneticists are considering splicing genes to make white Black Angus cattle, which would theoretically be less heat-stressed in this climate-changed world we inhabit. Because I had just finished this book, I actually knew a little something about the process that was being described!