Presented by: Rene Valdez
De-extinction is the re-creation of extinct species using methods from synthetic biology, cloning, genetic engineering, reproduction technologies, and stem cell research. Researchers around the world are investigating the possibility of reviving species, including the woolly mammoth, passenger pigeon, and gastric-brooding frog. These efforts have drawn considerable attention from scholars and the media.
Advocates argue that returning extinct species will restore ecological functions and increase interest in conservation efforts. Others question whether de-extinct species can survive in contemporary ecosystems, if there are appropriate policies to govern de-extinction, and how broader publics will receive de-extinction.
In this presentation I examine perceptions of de-extinction, drawing on results from two studies. First, I'll present results from a study of synthetic biology experts, focusing on their perceptions of potential hazards, benefits, research and governance needs, and public reactions. I will then present results of a content analysis of news articles covering de-extinction. I will discuss how the news media compares de-extinction to science fiction, and their interpretations of technological inevitability and biotechnology policy. I will conclude by comparing results from both studies to highlight differences and similarities regarding potential policy and public reactions.