The animals could play a key role in slowing climate change.
As with any promising new technology, voices have risen in opposition to it, and there are some valid concerns.
In this ongoing series, I talk with thought leaders about ideas and trends in the environmental movement. Next in the series
It is probably the most dramatic extinction story ever witnessed. Yet now there is interest and even the possibility of bringing the most famously extinct bird back.
It's amazing to think of the advances in genetic science and technology made during our lifetime. But when it comes to the idea of resurrecting a woolly mammoth via genetic wizardry in a laboratory, just because we can, does that mean that we should?
The essence of these verses is as relevant today as it has ever been. Do our choices enhance life for all of us? It seems to me the wisdom lies in letting the extinct stay extinct.
"In short, we should bring back extinct animals for the same reasons we protect endangered species: to preserve biodiversity, to restore diminished ecosystems, to advance the science of preventing extinctions and to undo harm that humans have caused in the past."
Biologists briefly brought the extinct Pyrenean ibex back to life in 2003 by creating a clone from a frozen tissue sample harvested before the goat's entire population vanished in 2000. The clone survived just seven minutes after birth, but it gave scientists hope that "de-extinction," once a pipedream, could become a reality.
Death is still forever, but extinction may not be. A dead body can't be reanimated once it begins to rot, but the essence of a species -- its genome -- survives rot for centuries, even thousands of years. That DNA knows how to make living animals, once we figure out how to invite it to do so.
Learn more about de-extinction in the latest issue of National Geographic magazine and check out the amazing images below