Psychopaths: Superficially charming, psychopaths tend to make a good first impression on others and often strike observers as remarkably normal. Yet they are self-centered, dishonest and undependable, and at times they engage in irresponsible behavior for no apparent reason other than the sheer fun of it. Largely devoid of guilt, empathy and love, they have casual and callous interpersonal and romantic relationships. Psychopaths routinely offer excuses for their reckless and often outrageous actions, placing blame on others instead. They rarely learn from their mistakes or benefit from negative feedback, and they have difficulty inhibiting their impulses.
""Dr. Wolfenden established physical properties of the twenty amino acids, and we have found a link between those properties and the genetic code," Carter said. "That link suggests to us that there was a second, earlier code that made possible the peptide-RNA interactions necessary to launch a selection process that we can envision creating the first life on Earth.""
That makes the title of How to Clone a Mammoth somewhat misleading. But evolutionary biologist Beth Shapiro keeps hope alive for making a mammoth — or at least something very much like one. By tinkering with an elephant’s genome, scientists could produce a cold-tolerant shaggy beast resembling the real deal.
Shapiro’s book is a thoughtful how-to guide for the painstaking process of reviving not just mammoths but passenger pigeons and other lost species. Her aim is to separate science from science fiction by taking a critical look at proposals for bringing these animals back. She outlines the many hurdles biologists would have to overcome, including assembling the genome and finding a closely related surrogate mom.
Beyond the technical difficulties, there are also thorny ethical questions, particularly if the lab-grown animals are released into the wild, as Shapiro hopes. She is acutely aware that people are worried about reintroducing extinct species. From the potential dangers for existing ecosystems to the financial burdens of the ventures, Shapiro carefully addresses the issues scientists would have to deal with. Some difficult questions still lack answers, she says.
Amid the concerns, it’s worth considering the benefits. The return of big herbivores such as mammoths — which could till the soil underfoot and spread seeds over long distances — could transform the desolate Siberian tundra into rich grassland. By reviving certain animals, Shapiro says, scientists could revive long-gone ecosystems. That could, in turn, keep other species from following the mammoth to extinction".
- Rowan UniversityComputer Science, 1989 - 1991
- Rowan UniversityPsychology, 1985 - 1989
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