Extinct Animals to Be Cloned

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The search is on for stuffed huia birds. The huia bird, which was once native to New Zealand, became extinct in the 1920s, partly as a result of widespread deforestation, and partly because the huia's large black-and-white tail feathers became a hot fashion accessory in Europe. Now scientists want to bring it and other species back by cloning them from preserved DNA specimens. Yes, they're quite serious.

Earlier this month biologists, bioethicists and representatives from the native population of New Zealand, the Maori, for whom the huia bird has symbolic significance, held a conference to discuss the possibility of reviving the extinct species. The decision was made to pursue the project, despite some objections — for example, that to bring back the huia bird would be tantamount to playing God, and that the huia's extinction had been a natural process that demonstrated its unviability as a species. "The next step in the cloning process involves searching for cells in the bones and tendons of preserved specimens," Dr. Rhys Michael Cullen, a New Zealand physician, told CNN. MORE >>