Scientists around the world are growing giddy at the prospect of resurrecting extinct species, and that whole mad scientist thing in general. Last week at a conference in Washington, Australian scientists reported that they had revived the genome of the long-extinct gastric brooding frog, a species primarily known for incubating its young in its stomach and giving birth through its mouth.
The scientists used a cloning technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer. According to the Guardian, the process involves taking frozen tissue samples and implanting the dead cell nucleus into a fresh egg from a similar species. However, the scientists have so far only been able to produce embryos, which die quickly, so we’ll have to wait just a little longer for a plague of frog-vomiting frogs.
Also under consideration are a number of other extinct species, including the wooly mammoth, a kind of cattle known as the aurochs, and the noble passenger pigeon, which we gleefully massacred early in the 20th century.
Some have also floated the idea of resurrecting our Neanderthal cousins using backbreeding, in which scientists look for remnants of their DNA in living species, and then enhance those traits using selective breeding over time. However, according to Hank Greely, director of the Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University, 500-generation human backbreeding would not be “feasible.” He also added, “It would be a really bad idea,” thereby cementing his status as a total buzzkill.