Serious Cloning / De-Extinction: Is It Ethical?

As we as a society move further down the line of genetic science, one side branch that has appealed to use for generations is finally within our grasp "De-Extinction."

De-Extinction is essentially bringing an extinct animal back to life, and this has already been done somewhat successfully before to a lesser degree (See: the Pyrenean Ibex which went extinct in the year 2000 and a new one was bred using a goat as a host in 2009 - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/sci...8/Extinct-ibex-is-resurrected-by-cloning.html)

Cloning has been going on for years (with the obvious most famous example being Dolly the Sheep, which at one point they were even thinking of designing a Pokemon around but they cancelled it because it was deemed too controversial) But now we've reached a point where certain countries are attempting these operations on much different, and more controversial animals; Japan is currently resurrecting a Woolly Mammoth, Dr. George Church of Harvard University in the US is planning to resurrect a Neanderthal human (my views on the ethics of this are entirely different from everything else).

There's so many different possibilities, and we're all doing so many different things with this information that most of us have never stopped to ask, should we? Personally, I feel the things we could learn are too great to not tap into, and as long as the animals are well taken care of (the Neanderthal is incredibly controversial and I'm not sure how I feel about this yet), I think it would be alright.

What do you all think about the ethics of this relatively new science field? Do you hope to see it expand?
 
Last edited:

OLD GREGG (im back baby)

old gregg for life
Humans looking to make a profit ensures they will not be free. Any animal that is forced to live in captivity has a sad life, undoubtedly. I have a soft spot for these poor creatures that are held against their will, regardless of how well they might be treated; it's just not right.

Take the Elephant for example, thought to be one of the most intelligent land mammals of all. They are familial creatures and even mourn the passing of other elephants so clearly they have feelings too. These Elephants are caged and permitted only a small area to roam in Zoos, they are hunted for their ivory, they are mistreated as circus acts-imagine if that was your life. From time to time these Zoo Elephants will prove their intelligence by getting loose and then go on a rampage, understandably. This usually results in the animal having to be put down. I can see where we might benefit from reviving these extinct species but there will come a point in which we will have to stop doing what benefits just human and start doing what benefits Earth or else.
 
Humans looking to make a profit ensures they will not be free. Any animal that is forced to live in captivity has a sad life, undoubtedly. I have a soft spot for these poor creatures that are held against their will, regardless of how well they might be treated; it's just not right.

Take the Elephant for example, thought to be one of the most intelligent land mammals of all. They are familial creatures and even mourn the passing of other elephants so clearly they have feelings too. These Elephants are caged and permitted only a small area to roam in Zoos, they are hunted for their ivory, they are mistreated as circus acts-imagine if that was your life. From time to time these Zoo Elephants will prove their intelligence by getting loose and then go on a rampage, understandably. This usually results in the animal having to be put down. I can see where we might benefit from reviving these extinct species but there will come a point in which we will have to stop doing what benefits just human and start doing what benefits Earth or else.
That's unfortunately a huge concern, I have no idea why such rampant poaching issues haven't been properly addressed yet considering the massive budgets set aside by world rights organizations for combating said efforts. Animals like the elephant and such definitely deserve a more wide-ranged environment, and the faltering conditions at a lot of zoos are a perfect symbol of degradation. The Woolly Mammoth could possibly survive if multiple ones were cloned and relocated to an open habitat in the Siberian Tundra and chronicled for study.
 

ant

sate
is a Site Staff Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Admin Alumnusis a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Top Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus
Have we not learned anything from Jurassic Park?? No. Really. What is lost is lost. Instead of focusing on the past and the things we've lost, we should focus on the things we're about to lose, like poor rhinos. We're incredibly selfish and only care about praise from others. We're trying to reserruct gone species that were lost due to natural causes or because we were stupid enough to not see what we were doing, but no one looks at our present.

With that said, I think it'd be a great scientific advance if used correctly. But we all know that won't happen.
 

termi

bite the future and fuck the past
is a Tiering Contributor
Unless the food chain is actually helped by the resurrection of certain species of animals, I don't see the benefit in de-extinction. Resurrecting extinct species solely for our own entertainment - because unless de-extinction isn't done with the purpose of restoring the balance of nature, I can only consider de-extinction to be human entertainment - is morally repulsive, we should not deem nature our plaything that we can mess around with at our own will. Also keep in mind that species go extinct for a reason. It's simply natural selection*, we should refrain from interfering with that lest we only cause further harm to nature.

*I'd say an exception to this rule is extinction caused by mankind, we should actively try to fix man-made extinction considering these extinctions are unnatural, men operate outside the boundaries of nature and as a result are prone to throwing nature out of whack, this is to be avoided for obvious reasons
 
Have we not learned anything from Jurassic Park?? No. Really. What is lost is lost. Instead of focusing on the past and the things we've lost, we should focus on the things we're about to lose, like poor rhinos. We're incredibly selfish and only care about praise from others. We're trying to reserruct gone species that were lost due to natural causes or because we were stupid enough to not see what we were doing, but no one looks at our present.

With that said, I think it'd be a great scientific advance if used correctly. But we all know that won't happen.
These resurrections are entirely being done for scientific purposes, and tons of funding are constantly being poured into modern conservation efforts, but funds are being mismanaged. Most problems in terms of these projects revolve entirely around mismanagement of funds.

Unless the food chain is actually helped by the resurrection of certain species of animals, I don't see the benefit in de-extinction. Resurrecting extinct species solely for our own entertainment - because unless de-extinction isn't done with the purpose of restoring the balance of nature, I can only consider de-extinction to be human entertainment - is morally repulsive, we should not deem nature our plaything that we can mess around with at our own will. Also keep in mind that species go extinct for a reason. It's simply natural selection*, we should refrain from interfering with that lest we only cause further harm to nature.

*I'd say an exception to this rule is extinction caused by mankind, we should actively try to fix man-made extinction considering these extinctions are unnatural, men operate outside the boundaries of nature and as a result are prone to throwing nature out of whack, this is to be avoided for obvious reasons
Both the Woolly Mammoth and Neanderthal have been heavily researched, and the general scientific consensus is that humans are mostly responsible for their extinction. Case in point: Wrangel Island, where mammoths survived thousands of additional years before humans arrived on the island.
 

termi

bite the future and fuck the past
is a Tiering Contributor
Both the Woolly Mammoth and Neanderthal have been heavily researched, and the general scientific consensus is that humans are mostly responsible for their extinction. Case in point: Wrangel Island, where mammoths survived thousands of additional years before humans arrived on the island.
yeah i should have specified, i mostly referred to species that died out fairly recently, i don't think there's much we can do about species whose extinction was partly caused by the humans that lived thousands of years ago. plus, another things that contributed to the extinction of woolly mammoths was climate change, i assume that in the current climate they wouldn't be able to survive except maybe in like siberia or whatever. in any case, the world seems hostile to species that existed thousands of years ago.

also, extinction caused by the kind of man that existed during the ice age is hardly comparable to the extinction caused by modern man. back then we were still part of nature to some degree, if we caused extinction it was simply because a certain species was a logical prey. these days we can cause extinction merely by existing, it's a fundamentally different kind of extinction and it happens at a way faster rate.
 
Both the Woolly Mammoth and Neanderthal have been heavily researched, and the general scientific consensus is that humans are mostly responsible for their extinction. Case in point: Wrangel Island, where mammoths survived thousands of additional years before humans arrived on the island.
Eh...

Homo Neanderthalensis probs didn't go extinct beacuse Homo Sapiens suddenly existed. Scientific evidence suggests that Neanderthalensis and Sapiens just started interbreeding with each other, and slowly there weren't any pure Neanderthalensis around beacuse they didn't reproduce at the same rate. When the Human Genome project concluded, they also sequenced Neanderthalensis from some frozen bone scraps, and there were some base pair similarities between modern Europeans (IE white people who's family line always lived in Europe), and Neanderthalensis (Idk what the percentage was). However, when they compared it between pure Africans (IE blacks who's family line always lived in Africa), no such similarities existed. Thus, it was concluded that Homo Neanderthalensis just interbred with European Homo Sapiens and stopped existing as wholly different.

So no, the scientific consensus is not that we exterminated Homo Neanderthalensis with our amazing ability to out-walk our prey (yes, Homo Sapiens were designed as scavengers, not predators, while Homo Neanderthalensis was designed to kill its prey), but that they just got absorbed into Homo Sapiens.
 
I'm in the we should be able to create whatever we want as long as we treat it properly camp.

I don't see much of a difference between creating something to raise in captivity and protecting a species that already exists (other than that extra physical step thay confronts people with the potential ethics of the decision they would ignore but not make themselves)

I also don't see what's wrong with making neandrathals in theory but I don't see us ever handling this properly right now. Not even close.

Soon enough we're going to be confronted with the prospect of making people in Strong AI and genetic manipulation and that's way fucking harder to deal with so we better start adjusting to the realively simple cultural tension this is going to create as a stepping stone.
 

shade

be sharp, say nowt
is a Super Moderator Alumnusis a Live Chat Contributor Alumnus
de-extinction of really old species is generally impossible (right now) as a result of the half-life of DNA being like 500 years so degradation is relatively fast. another critical roadblock, assuming you manage to find a suitable host, is creating enough of said species to form a viable breeding population. bringing back 1 goat ain't gonna solve anything, you probably could need anywhere from 100-1000+ individuals - dependent on generation times - in order create a viable breeding population that is safe from the risk of inbreeding depression. even at 1000 individuals your population is unlikely to be able to survive any sort of major genetic bottleneck it could encounter. you could solve the problem by choosing a species that breed with current species, but then you run the risk of 'watering down' your species, rapid speciation and then loss of the species that you just saved.

bringing back animals that have been dead for a long time (read: mammoth) is pretty crazy - and maybe impossible cos of degradation - simply because the habitat has had a long time to adapt so you do not know what the knock-on effect will be. the new species essentially becomes an invasive species like cane toads or something so could have pretty dramatic impacts. this is particularly the case for the woolly mammoth because, like modern elephants, it would be a keystone species in its habitat and have a huge impact on its surroundings. neanderthals is ridiculous for all sorts of ethics reasons, we can barely be nice to ppl with different skin colours and gay ppl let alone a new species of hominid and a whole new meaning of the word homo.

i agree that this field of science is cool and sounds exciting, but realistically i think we should be focusing on creating stable environments going forward to preserve natural evolution.
 
yeah i should have specified, i mostly referred to species that died out fairly recently, i don't think there's much we can do about species whose extinction was partly caused by the humans that lived thousands of years ago. plus, another things that contributed to the extinction of woolly mammoths was climate change, i assume that in the current climate they wouldn't be able to survive except maybe in like siberia or whatever. in any case, the world seems hostile to species that existed thousands of years ago.

also, extinction caused by the kind of man that existed during the ice age is hardly comparable to the extinction caused by modern man. back then we were still part of nature to some degree, if we caused extinction it was simply because a certain species was a logical prey. these days we can cause extinction merely by existing, it's a fundamentally different kind of extinction and it happens at a way faster rate.
I remember reading that humans even if not at the levels of today, were still far and away the #1 cause of the loss of life in the Holocene extinction, followed by the gradual loss of CO2 due to the melting ice (even though ironically we're still in an Ice Age even if it still doesn't seem like it)

Eh...

Homo Neanderthalensis probs didn't go extinct beacuse Homo Sapiens suddenly existed. Scientific evidence suggests that Neanderthalensis and Sapiens just started interbreeding with each other, and slowly there weren't any pure Neanderthalensis around beacuse they didn't reproduce at the same rate. When the Human Genome project concluded, they also sequenced Neanderthalensis from some frozen bone scraps, and there were some base pair similarities between modern Europeans (IE white people who's family line always lived in Europe), and Neanderthalensis (Idk what the percentage was). However, when they compared it between pure Africans (IE blacks who's family line always lived in Africa), no such similarities existed. Thus, it was concluded that Homo Neanderthalensis just interbred with European Homo Sapiens and stopped existing as wholly different.

So no, the scientific consensus is not that we exterminated Homo Neanderthalensis with our amazing ability to out-walk our prey (yes, Homo Sapiens were designed as scavengers, not predators, while Homo Neanderthalensis was designed to kill its prey), but that they just got absorbed into Homo Sapiens.
The last Neanderthals were said to have gone extinct around 10000 years ago, would that be enough time for them to basically breed themselves into our population? Also, there's a hypothesis that's somewhat currently unaccepted by the scientific community as a whole right now but it does have a lot of evidence backing it up, that Neanderthals possible hunted Homo Sapiens Sapiens and were a lot different physically than a lot of modern studies concur. I don't know if I necessarily believe it, but it's interesting nonetheless.

I'm in the we should be able to create whatever we want as long as we treat it properly camp.

I don't see much of a difference between creating something to raise in captivity and protecting a species that already exists (other than that extra physical step thay confronts people with the potential ethics of the decision they would ignore but not make themselves)

I also don't see what's wrong with making neandrathals in theory but I don't see us ever handling this properly right now. Not even close.

Soon enough we're going to be confronted with the prospect of making people in Strong AI and genetic manipulation and that's way fucking harder to deal with so we better start adjusting to the realively simple cultural tension this is going to create as a stepping stone.
It would be one of the biggest studies in history, so more than likely the funding and grants provided for such an experiment would be massive, if not at the very least satisfactory. In terms of handling Neanderthals, one of two things would happen. A. they end up not being "too" different from us in terms of appearance, and could possibly assimilate back into the population without difficulty. B. They could end up looking a lot different, and not being intelligent enough to handle life outside of captivity which would be the worst situation, but it is being proposed upon by a doctor from Harvard so at the very least the funding probably wouldn't run out.

de-extinction of really old species is generally impossible (right now) as a result of the half-life of DNA being like 500 years so degradation is relatively fast. another critical roadblock, assuming you manage to find a suitable host, is creating enough of said species to form a viable breeding population. bringing back 1 goat ain't gonna solve anything, you probably could need anywhere from 100-1000+ individuals - dependent on generation times - in order create a viable breeding population that is safe from the risk of inbreeding depression. even at 1000 individuals your population is unlikely to be able to survive any sort of major genetic bottleneck it could encounter. you could solve the problem by choosing a species that breed with current species, but then you run the risk of 'watering down' your species, rapid speciation and then loss of the species that you just saved.

bringing back animals that have been dead for a long time (read: mammoth) is pretty crazy - and maybe impossible cos of degradation - simply because the habitat has had a long time to adapt so you do not know what the knock-on effect will be. the new species essentially becomes an invasive species like cane toads or something so could have pretty dramatic impacts. this is particularly the case for the woolly mammoth because, like modern elephants, it would be a keystone species in its habitat and have a huge impact on its surroundings. neanderthals is ridiculous for all sorts of ethics reasons, we can barely be nice to ppl with different skin colours and gay ppl let alone a new species of hominid and a whole new meaning of the word homo.

i agree that this field of science is cool and sounds exciting, but realistically i think we should be focusing on creating stable environments going forward to preserve natural evolution.
Multiple nations have been able to find well preserved Mammoth remains in the perma-frosts of Siberia with DNA remains apparently in good enough condition that the Japanese are attempting to resurrect them. It was supposed to be done several years ago, but unfortunately it turned out that they weren't able to find red blood within the well preserved specimen that they had - https://singularityhub.com/2016/08/...a-living-woolly-mammoth-by-now-why-havent-we/
 
Considering how many species humans have killed off, we kinda owe it to the planet to bring some of 'em back.
Think of it this way though, you are 80 years old, had 3 kids each with children that you can call your grandchildren, lived a happy life as a farmer around the year 1700 and is happy you got to live as long as you did and to see the things that you did and you die of cancer. Would you want someone bringing you back to life?? And how would you handle it?? What rights could you give it??? There is no way it could be happy as you would have to teach it all of these new things and it would have absolutely no family left to be with it would be all alone. Now for a Neanderthal!?!?! Are you insane?!?!? There is no way it could live as a normal human and be happy if brought back. More or less would be confused,
 

Martin

“gaming” ~Danny DeVito
is a Forum Moderatoris a Live Chat Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
Moderator
Considering the effect that just reintroducing extant animals to areas where they used to live has had on the balance of their ecosystems I don't think doing anything like this even for animals which are extinct due to us is a good idea. Sure, maybe if we resurrected something which had only been gone for six months maybe it could work, but with things like the reintroduction of grizzly bears to Pyrenees, France, which has had a huge impact despite the last female only having been dead since 2004 due to the way farming practices had shifted in the ten years since then, and the initial introduction of rabbits to Australia, where the lack of natural predators combined with their high rate of reproduction caused the extinction of a vast number of plant species, the whole idea of introducing something which has not been there for even a reasonably short period of time is an extremely sensitive and risky operation which would need extensive management.

For the record, I do think that managed rewilding is very important for maintaining biodiversity provided that it is done for the indirect improvements that it would bring with it. There's a good video about the reintroduction of wolves to the Yellowstone National Park in 1995 and the resulting trophic cascade that came with it, which I have embedded below. However, rewilding should only ever happen if there is a good reason to do so; in the UK, wolf rewilding programs would aim of controlling deer in order to prevent overgrazing of grassland and to hopefully eventually turn grassland into woodland (source), whereas the reintroduction of Capercaille was done in order to help protect a number of smaller bird and mammal species (source). This is the key difference between the very careless introduction/reintroduction of rabbits and the bears that I talked about above and the cases of rewilding that you can find on the website that I linked. You will always get skeptic articles which totally miss the point and/or display a shocking lack of understanding (like this one, which I found when looking for links to use in this post), but awareness and positivity of attitudes surrounding is something that feel is improving and will hopefully lead to an improved degree of intelligence with which biodiversity is maintained.


One of the big differences between de-extinction and rewilding/reintroduction simply comes down to the motives behind them. There is little, if anything, in the way of good arguments for de-extinction. Beyond the basic ethics of it (for which I think the developmental defects that commonly go hand in hand with cloning are the bigger concern than fact that they will more likely be viewed in the same way that circus animals are viewed; cloning is very dodgy when it comes to the ethics side of things even before you consider the effect of people on the clones), it is very hard to justify how reintroduction of extinct species will positively impact their habitats, especially when a lot of the time the introduction of a behaviourally similar subspecies would achieve much the same effect as the de-extinction of the native species, and you also need to take the consideration of the way said habitat has changed in the period of time between the animal's extinction and the time when they are made extant and reintroduced into the area (assuming you are able to successfully produce a breeding pair without any defects through the process of cloning). It is simply a very impractical and inefficient way of managing biodiversity when we should should instead be focusing on the protection of species and the managed/thought-out rewilding of areas when we feel that the effect of doing so would be positive rather than nonexistent or negative.
 

Ohmachi

Sun✡Head
There is nothing wrong with it. By learning how to bring back these species we can apply that knowledge to cure human genetic defects. I would also pay alot to see a dinosuar.
 
I would also pay alot to see a dinosuar.
Why? We see them every day. Just because we call them birds doesn't make them any different.

Going to this thread's topic, and disregarding how undeveloped both things are:
- In regards to cloning, the biggest matter is how to treat the clone. Should we consider it the same being? Should we consider it as something different? I guess that in a far future it could be useful in the field of medicine to work around diseases that could be detected very early on and cannot be treated through other means, but this would also bring the issue on how one would treat the original, diseased one.
- About bringing species back from extinction, that could go wrong in an unthinkable amount of ways. The de-extinct species could epically fail to adapt and go extinct again or could become an invasive species, making other species extinct. Efforts should be made, instead, in preventing current species from being extinct assuming it's not because of humanity's fault or an exceptional event - after all, we shouldn't interfere in natural selection.
 

Plague von Karma

Diolch am eich amser!
is a Community Contributoris a Pokemon Researcher
Oh, man, this is a thread I really find interesting. Ever since I first heard about the Pyrenean Ibex incident it's kind of enthralled me. The idea of bringing back extinct animals for environmental benefits is really intriguing to me.

So one thing that's surprisingly not been bought up is the Tauros Programme, a project aiming to breed back the extinct Aurochs to solve various issues with ecosystems that have been without megafauna since the Quatenary extinction. This isn't like the Heck Cattle that the Nazis created, which are notoriously inaccurate. The programme has been surprisingly successful, and many of these are, genetically, very similar to the Aurochs. Hell, some have even been released into rewilding areas and done damn well. There's even a book on it that they've written, you can find it on the link I provided earlier. I strongly suggest checking it out!
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 1, Guests: 0)

Top