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Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Earlier this year, Harvard biologist George Church outlined his plan to produce elephant embryos that contain woolly mammoth genes. The news, big and even called fake, reignited a debate about whether and how gene editing can be used to bring back extinct species or at least some of their traits.

The context: The world's biodiversity, the sheer number of species and the diversity of traits, is under threat. For example, on our current trajectory of fishing, mining, damming and manufacturing, more than half of the planet's marine species may face extinction by 2100. At the same time, there is ongoing debate over how we should choose which species to try to save.

The questions: Where does the science and technology on de-extinction stand? Can and should this be done, and what do we stand to gain and lose? Here's what five researchers had to say:

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 8 wounded

Police cars restrict access to Oxford High School following the shooting in Oxford, Michigan, on Tuesday. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

A 15-year-old sophomore was arrested after a shooting at a Michigan high school that left three people dead and eight others wounded Wednesday, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

The latest: Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a briefing Tuesday night that the suspect's father had on Friday bought the 9mm Sig Sauer pistol investigators believe was used in the shooting at Oxford High School. Authorities released the names of the victims late Tuesday.

City Council member Andre Dickens wins Atlanta mayoral race

Atlanta Mayor-elect Andre Dickens in Atlanta, Georgia, late Tuesday. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

City Council member Andre Dickens won a runoff election Tuesday to become Atlanta's next mayor, soundly beating the council's president Felicia Moore.

The big picture: Dickens was just a few months ago considered to have an outside chance of replacing Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced in May that she wouldn't seek a second term.

UN report: Pandemic set to cost global tourism $2 trillion in 2021

A tourist in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Nov. 25. Photo:Chesnot/Getty Images

A new United Nations report warns that global tourism will see only modest revenue gains in 2021 after last year's historic losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: Tourism revenues in 2020 fell by more than half from the previous year — a significant blow to the global economy, according to analysis by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

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