“Extinction” of a species would be both possible and impossible

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[EN VIDÉO] Biodiversity: Have we entered the sixth mass extinction?
In recent years, biodiversity has regularly occupied the front pages of the media. will collapse. In 40 years, the number of land vertebrates has decreased by 60%, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. To the point of asserting that humanity is the cause of the sixth mass extinction? Gilles Bove, head of the scientific council of the French Agency for Biodiversity, reveals his arguments on this issue.

For more than a century, human activities have caused The decline or even disappearance of thousands of species of animals and plants. The reason for the extinction of some of them is directly due to the interest they have given to humans. This for example is the case of the three types sleeping It is found in the islands of the Indian Ocean and the last of them disappeared in 1790, mainly due to its overexploitation and the destruction of its habitat by man. Other groups of animals, such as mammoths, owe their disappearance Several factors of climatic and genetic origin. The fact that today’s focus is on protecting species that are still present does not prevent those that are extinct from being a source of illusions, and especially if they reach a large size, they have Morphology singular or were particularly terrifying.

Unlike science fiction, the science of “de-extinction” is often concerned with young species Species that are now extinctUnsurprisingly, less well known. The reason for this is that researchers need to use well-known extant species that are genetically close to extinct species of interest and large enough to be easily accessed and handled in the laboratory. Experiments on resuscitation dinosaurs Thus mammoths are not the most common …

Restore pieces of species…but not species

In contrast, a research team published Article in the magazine current biology On “Eliminate Extinction” of the Christmas Island Rat (Ratus McCleary, northwest Australia) who died between 1898 and 1908, as well as about the limits of this science in general. In this article, the authors mention that there are three ways to “terminate” a species: posterior reproduction (selection in current types of characters found in extinct species), and cloning and the Genetic Engineering. They explain that the latter method is most likely to work on a large number of extinct species but depends on the quality of the reconstruction genome who are they.

There are three ways to “terminate” a species: posterior reproductioncloning and genetic engineering

The authors of the study re-sequenced the genome of the Christmas Island mouse and covered it with the genome of current representatives of the genus. ratos In order to restore lost parts of the genome of extinct species. However, they found that approximately 5% of this genome was unrecoverable despite the very high quality of the sequences. genomics current species. This is due to the evolutionary difference that occurred between the current species and R.mcleari since extinction. In addition, more than 1,600 Genoa (out of 34,200) from R.mcleari You have a sequence less than 90% complete and 26 completely absent.

The authors also highlight the fact that these missing sequences do not appear to be related to random genes and that they significantly affect those involved insmelling and the immune response. If the genome R.mcleari Or any other extinct species that was destined to be used to recreate existing species, so this species would be very different from the one that disappeared. In this sense, the scientist Ben Novak who specializes in rescue hereditary and “de-extinction”, says it is possible to create species similar to extinct species but ” You can never bring back something that’s gone “.

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