by Diya Barmecha
Our world lives in balance. For every few prey there are few predators. When the predators die out the prey increases and this is how the addition or subtraction of species affects everybody in the ecosystem. The bringing back of a species can help rejuvenate the environment as well as help scientists prevent endangered species from going extinct. De-extinction is also loosely known as the resurrection of animals that resemble or are extinct species. De-extinction research also leads to many developments in the treatment of endangered animals.
As mentioned above, the extinction of any animal affects every other animal in the vicinity. One of the easiest and most widely proposed ways to de-extinct is to clone the animal found. This is done by creating a new multicellular organism which is in most ways genetically identical to the host organism. This is an asexual form of reporudtion where fertilisation or any inter-gamete conatnct does not occor. The first ever cloning of an extinct animal was done in 2003. The Pyrenean Ibex was cloned at the center of Food technology and Research of Aragon. They used the frozen cells of the skin samples they had found from the Ibexand some domesticated goat egg cells.
Likewise, on June 10th, 2021 a similar case occurred. Russian scientists in the Arctic Siberian Permafrost found microscopic animals that had been in slumber for a long time. They justified this by saying that in an animal’s natural habitat, some organisms can be “preserved for hundreds to tens of thousands of years.” The radiocardboning of the animal showed that this animal was 24,000 years old.
The animal in particular found was a multicellular animal called Bdelloid rotifers. They typically live in watery environments and have the ability to survive low temperatures due to their cell shielding mechanisms to protect their organs. They are more commonly known as the wheel animals due to their wheel-like ring of tiny hairs surrounding their mouths. Although they are known to survive and thrive in generally low temperature regions, earlier they had only been able to survive up to 10 years in a frozen state. However, with this revival of animals the scientists of Russia are able to understand this multicellular animal better as well as help develop their characteristics to benefit society. By isolating the organ, characteristic and mechanism and closing it, scientists are able to develop it into medicines, procedures and even learn from it.
The Rotifers suspend most of their metabolism and accumulate some proteins to help them recover from cryptobiosis or the state of being immobile for very long until conditions improve. They also have mechanisms to repair damned DNA to protect the cells against the harmful moleculare. DNA is the most important element of our body which codes for our proteins and makes each human unique in their own way.
With the help of DNA we are able to understand what makes each organism special and the scientists need to just create an exact copy of the host organism DNA to create an organism just like it. This process of cloning could be the answer to most animal related problems in the modern world. According to Stas Malavin, a researcher at the Soil Cryology Laboratory at the Puschkino Scientific Center for Biological Research in Russia, this discovery is proof that such multicellular organisms can live for tens of thousands of years in a slumber.
This discovery is very important as cloning extinct animals can lead to advancements within many scientific technologies and processes. The more knowledge we possess and the most sources we have, the wider range of help the scientist can provide. With many tries of cloning, the process itself can also improve. This discovery can help to study previously extinct animals and research cures to some diseases relating to the weider species. This knowledge can help us find ways for many species to be prevented from extinction. This would change the way we think about the ecosystem as well as the entire concept of balance.
This 24,000 year old animal has just shown us that if viable DNA is found on the skin, or cell of any animal,it can be copied and brought back to life. This would mean that an animal can be stored for thousands of years in their natural frozen habitat only to be revived and cloned years later. The idea of cloning dinosaurs or other extinct animals has always seemed like the works of a movie. However, with each discovery the idea of an animal truly going extinct is not going to be an option. Science has better plans for our animals…