Cloning extinct animals: A disaster waiting to happen

Over the years, I've learned a few valuable lessons from genre films. If you go to an alien planet and say things like "they're harmless," bad things are likely to happen. If you travel through time to "just fix" the timeline, bad things are likely to happen. If you send out a signal to aliens giving them a map to Earth, bad things are likely to happen. And if you clone extinct animals, very very bad things are likely to happen. 

Some marketing genius came up with the term "de-extinction" — who would be opposed to un-extincting some sweet, worthy creature that was unfairly extincted? This strikes me as something even more dangerous than climate change or Trump. It treats the biosphere like a Sim or Roblox — what could go wrong? As this article in Slate makes abundantly clear, the technology is almost here and both scientists and amateurs will have the ability to clone in the very near future. 

For years, Colossal Biosciences has been promising that they're plowing ahead with their de-extinction project, meant to bring woolly mammoths back to the Earth, despite ethicists, conservationists, paleontologists, and others repeatedly responding, "No, we do not want this." Earlier this month, the company claimed to have created induced pluripotent stem cells, which brings them a step closer to creating embryos that could be genetically modified to be mammothlike. Those would, in turn, be placed into living Asian elephant mothers to produce shaggy beasts unlike any seen in 4,000 years.

Seems that this is going to be difficult to stop, even with strict regulations. 

Why would anyone want to do this? The answer, as is the answer with most things: dick-swinging and dollars. No surprise to me — I saw Jurassic Park. And all the sequels. We never learn.

See also: Wooly mammoths to be reborn by 2027, says biotech firm