Featured image: A rare image of the po’ouli, a now-extinct species of Hawaiian songbird last seen in 2004. The last known male failed to breed in captivity, but its body and genes have been cryogenically preserved in California. (Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
The quest to bring back extinct species isn’t all about reviving mammoths 11,000 years after the Ice Age. Humans are causing a massive global extinction, affecting thousands of species due to habitat loss and changing climate, so it’s all we can do to stem the tide by preserving species in any way we can. Right now, a multifaceted band of scientists are gathering DNA of endangered creatures and using science to revive previously dead branches of the tree of life.
All of this comes forward in the great new book, “The Re-Origin of Species” by Torill Kornfeldt. Just translated from Swedish, the chapters chronicle different scientists’ quests to preserve life as we know it, covering the unbelievable possibilities already in play, as well as the moral dilemmas imposed by destroying and reanimating life. Thanks to Kelsey Ockert of the Princeton Public Library for the book review and giveaway!
In other news:
- Your brain can use multiple circuits to predict when an imminent event will occur. An innovative study on patients with different brain functionality showed how the brain can be flexible when it comes to performing important tasks.
- PrEP, a medication that prevents HIV infection, has just received a full federal recommendation for widespread public use. Doctors and patients, spread the word about PrEP!
- Social media influence on politics may be troublesome, but it’s a phenomenon scientists can understand and thus circumvent. New research on Twitter bot behavior shows how a few bots can make an oversized impact through immediate sharing, but removing a few key accounts helps tremendously.
The playlist can be found online at WPRB.com or below.