The Ethical Concerns Of Bringing Back The Woolly Mammoth

The Ethical Concerns Of Bringing Back The Woolly Mammoth

​We have the resources to bring the species back to life, but should we?
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The idea of bringing back the woolly mammoth is nothing new to the world of genetics. And now, in 2015, paleogeneticists have recovered enough woolly mammoth cells out of the frozen lands of Siberia to recreate the pre-historic beast.

The woolly mammoth is nearly identical to the Asian elephant in regards to genetic code. And because of this, scientists theorized that they could use the Asian elephant to bring back its extinct cousin. As they continued to gather fragments of mammoth DNA, paleogeneticists slowly puzzled together the genome of the species, showing them the genetic similarities and differences between the mammoth and the elephant.

Researchers knew that if the unique genetic information encoded within the Asian elephant cell could be replaced with the unique genetic information of the woolly mammoth, the newly modified asian elephant cell would hold the exact sequence of a woolly mammoth. The theory then became a reality in March of 2015 when Harvard professor of genetics George Church successfully spliced the unique fragments of woolly mammoth DNA into the modified DNA of an Asian elephant.

When this woolly mammoth cell was created, scientists knew they were no longer experimenting with DNA in laboratory. They were playing God.

To put the procedure into practice, scientists would have to scrupulously complete a particular set of steps. First, they would have to inject the unique DNA of the mammoth cells into the modified DNA of an Asian elephant embryo. Next, they would have to both monitor and nurse the mother elephant through her life-threatening pregnancy, making sure all life-permitting conditions remain constant. If she survives to the stage of conception, the experiment would result in a woolly mammoth offspring containing all the distinct qualities that it did 10,000 years ago, including extra hair, extra fat, unique tusks, and bigger ears. But this would only be the beginning of the struggle. A suitable, artificial climate would need to be created immediately, with medical improvisation being the only method of remedy in the case of an emergency.

The possibility of mammoths roaming the earth once again fascinated researchers--not to mention the rest of the world. But after digesting the excitement and restraining the impulse to act suddenly, ethics were brought into question.

The ethical problem with reviving the mammoth is that it's an inauspicious endeavor. And if the experiment fails, it will result in severe consequences, specifically the slow deaths impregnated Asian elephants.

“It seems to me that trying this out might lead to suffering for female elephants, and that would not be ethically justifiable” Paleogeneticist Love Dalen, associate professor at Swedish Museum of Natural History and co-author of the study told the BBC.

In regards to the offspring, scientists are skeptical whether it will survive, as well. When the Pyrenean ibex goat was brought back to life in 2003 using the same genetic splicing process, it died seven minutes after birth. And until attempted, the survivability of the woolly mammoth offspring cannot be predicted.

Prioritizing between the living species and the dead was also brought into the ethical discussion, arguably the paramount reason behind science's reluctance to recreate the animal.

"We face the potential extinction of African and Asian elephants. Why bring back another elephantid from extinction when we cannot even keep the ones that are not extinct around?” Professor Alex Greenwood, an ancient DNA expert, told The Telegraph. "What is the message? We can be as irresponsible with the environment as we want. Then we'll just clone things back?”

The ethical concern has gone unresolved and continues to be discussed in laboratories across the world. Where would the species live in this increasingly hot climate? Would the purpose merely be for our own selfish entertainment? Playing God is a game of ethics, and to many scientists, just because the woolly mammoth could be brought back to life doesn't mean it should be.

Cover Image Credit: Flying Puffin Creative Commons

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9 Eligible Princes You Need To Know About Now That Prince Harry Is Off The Market

You too could have a Meghan Markle fairytale
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Prince Harry's royal wedding is officially over and there won't be another British royal wedding for quite some time now, as Prince George is way too young to start thinking about that. Fortunately, there are plenty of other countries with plenty of other princes that are still eligible bachelors at the moment. Lucky for you, I did my research and compiled a list of all the eligible princes you need to know about know that Prince Harry has tied the knot with Meghan Markle.

1. Prince Louis of Luxembourg (31)

Prince Louis is the third son of the Grand Duke Henri and Duchess Maria Theresa of Luxembourg. He has recently become a bachelor again after his separation with his wife of 10 years, Princess Tessy.

Fun Fact: He graduated from Richmond, The American International University of London with a BA in Communications. He can also speak Luxembourgish (the fact that's even a language is fun fact by itself), French, German, and English fluently.

2. Prince Sebastien of Luxembourg (26)

Prince Sebastien is the youngest child of the Grand Duke Henri and Duchess Maria Theresa of Luxembourg, so if you marry him, you'll probably never actually be queen because he's pretty far removed from the throne. However, he's relatively young and single, so best of luck.

Fun Fact: For some bizarre reason, this prince actually went to college in Ohio. He played rugby and graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2015. Now, he is back in his home country and is an officer in the Luxembourg Army.

3. Prince Phillipos of Greece and Denmark (34)

You read that correctly, Prince Phillipos is the prince of not one, but two countries. He is the youngest son of King Constantine and Queen Anne Marie of Greece and Denmark. Unfortunately, Greece abolished their monarchy, so he's a prince in name only there.

Fun Fact: Like Prince Sebastien, Prince Phillipos also went to college in the United States. He earned his B.A. in foreign relations from Georgetown University in 2008. Fortunately, for us American girls, he is actually still living in the US and he works in New York City as an analyst at Ortelius Capital.

4. Prince Albert of Thurn and Taxis (34)

Ever heard of Thurn and Taxis? No? Me neither. Anyways, Prince Albert is from the House of Thurn and Taxis, which is essentially a very old German aristocratic family. He is the son of Prince Johannes XI of Thurn and Taxis and Countess Gloria of Schonburg Glauchau. His family is well known for their breweries and castles, so unless you're gluten-free, you can't really complain.

Fun Fact: He's not just a prince. He's also a racecar driver and 10 years ago he was ranked 11th on Forbes Magazine's List of The 20 Hottest Young Royals.

5. Prince Mateen of Brunei (26)

Prince Mateen is basically like all the guys you already know, except he's royalty. He's the prince of Brunei, which is a small country on the island of Borneo, south of Vietnam. He is one of the five sons of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, and he also has seven sisters. Maybe that's a little different than the guys you know, but one thing he takes very seriously, just like most frat guys, is his Instagram.

Fun Fact: Mateen enjoys playing polo, flying in his private plane, cuddling cute wild animals, and keeping up his Insta game with 890k followers. You can follow him @tmski.

6. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai (35)

Sheikh Hamdan also has a killer Instagram with 6.3 million followers. Anyways, Sheikh Hamdan is the billionaire crown prince of Dubai and the second son of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and essentially the king of Dubai (Emir). He's actually next in line for the throne because his older brother died in 2015.

Fun Fact: Hamdan's hobbies include skydiving, zip lining, and diving, just to name a few, so if you're an adrenaline junkie, Sheikh Hamdan is the prince for you.

7. Prince Hussein of Jordan (23)

Prince Hussain is the son of the extremely beautiful, Queen Rania and Abdullah II of Jordan and next in line for the Jordanian throne. At 23, he's already a second lieutenant in the Jordanian Armed Forces and he was the youngest person ever to chair a UN Security Council Meeting


Fun Fact: Like Prince Phillippos, Prince Hussain also graduated from Georgetown University in Washington D.C.. Also, like Prince Mateen and Prince Hamdan, he's Insta famous with 1.3 million followers and you can follow him @alhusseinjo.

8. Prince Constantine-Alexios of Greece and Denmark (19)

Like Prince Phillipos, Prince Constantine-Alexios also has two countries. Lucky for us though, he is also living in the US right now attending Georgetown University in Washington D.C. (like pretty much every other prince, amirite?) He is the oldest son of Crown Princess Marie-Chantal and Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece.

Fun Fact: He's Prince William's godson, so that's pretty neat. However, if that wasn't cool enough, you might like to know that this Greek/Danish prince was actually born in New York. Oh yeah, you can also follow him on Instagram @alexiosgreece where he has 88.7k followers.

9. Prince Joachim of Belgium (26)

Prince Joachim of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este is the third child of Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este and Princess Astrid of Belgium. Although he bears the title, "Prince of Belgium," he is also Archduke of Austria-Este, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, and Prince of Modena. Unfortunately, he'll probably never actually be king in any of these countries as he is ninth in line to the Belgian throne.

Fun Fact: Prince Joachim has degrees in economics, management, and finance, but he decided to join the Nautical School in Brugge after completing college and is currently an officer in the Belgian Navy.

Hope is not lost for all you girls dreaming of finding a Prince Charming that's literally a prince. After reviewing the data, my best advice is to transfer to Georgetown where princes are basically around every corner.

Cover Image Credit: @meghantheduchessofsussexstyle/Instagram

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movie Review: 'The Prestige'

A perplexing puzzle that keeps you on your toes until the very last second.

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After watching The Prestige, I have to say I am truly in awe and shock. With endless plot twists that lasted till the very last minute of the movie to minute-to-minute deception, this movie kept you on your toes from beginning to end. This is by no means a movie that you can sit down and watch while doing other things. It requires an immense amount of concentration because something new happens every five seconds. I am being completely honest when I say that my friend and I had to pause the movie at least five times just to make sure we were understanding everything. The Prestige is a rollercoaster of a movie, and one that I highly recommend. Even if thrillers aren't your typical genre that you like watching, make an exception for this one. Personally, my taste in movies vary but I would definitely not gravitate towards thrillers on a daily basis, but I am so glad I watched this one because it left me thinking about it for days afterwards.

Christopher Nolan, the director, is a master of cinematic deception and misdirection. Originally based on the novel The Prestige by Christopher Priest, the movie is a significant adaptation with completely different scenes and even a changed ending. While it is easy to hide certain facts in a book, it is much more difficult to carry that level of deception out in a movie while still providing all the scenes necessary for the audience to follow along. Nolan accomplishes this beautifully and keeps the audience second-guessing the ending every five seconds.

Set in London in the late 1800s, The Prestige is a scientific fiction and thriller about two magicians, Alfred Borden and Robert Angier, who worked together until unfortunately one of their tricks goes awry and ends up killing Angier's wife. This starts a feud between Angier and Borden, that causes them to become obsessed with outperforming the other, no matter who or what is sacrificed along the way. It has countless red herrings and the illusion that Nolan is able to portray is absolutely fascinating.

The summer is a perfect time to relax and watch a new movie, and I highly recommend The Prestige as your next movie. The plot is carried out spectacularly and keeps you engaged until the very last second. A movie I'd definitely watch again and again, probably finding more clues each time I watch it!

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https://www.amazon.com/Prestige-Hugh-Jackman/dp/B0094M2FS0

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