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Published April 25, 2014, 09:23 PM

De-extinction: Bringing extinct animals back to life could happen

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - If you've ever wondered what it would be like to stand next to a woolly mammoth, listen up.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - If you've ever wondered what it would be like to stand next to a woolly mammoth, listen up.

Scientists say it could happen.

But that doesn't mean it will.

Friday, many scientists have their eye on de-extinction.

Yes, it's just what it sounds like: using D-N-A to bring back extinct species.

Movies like Jurassic Park had us all wondering just what it would be like to walk with dinosaurs.

A concept considered pure science fiction just a few years ago is now feasible.

Conservation biologist Stanley Temple visited NDSU to explain the push toward de-extinction.

Stanley Temple/ Conservation Biologist: "I have no doubt that given enough time somebody's gonna pull it off."

But how is it possible to bring back a creature gone for centuries, even millennia?

Through a controversial genetic engineering process, scientists could find a closely-related species and replace parts of its DNA with ancient DNA.

Creating a genetically-modified organism that resembles the extinct species.

Fascinating, exciting, and really cool to think about, but the big question is whether it's a good idea.

Joey Wagner/ NDSU Student: "I don't know if dinosaurs coming back is something that will happen too soon."

Some say bringing back a species once it's extinct in unnatural and depending on the species, could cause problems for the ecosystem or even human health.

Haylee Beehler/ NDSU Student: "We should stick with just the species that are becoming extinct nowadays rather than focusing on something that has been gone for a millennia."

A slightly less controversial method of de-extinction would involve cloning well-preserved tissue.

That would, of course, only be possible for species that went extinct more recently and had their tissue preserved.

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