Musing on resurrecting extinct plants.

Get your science fix here: research, quackery, activism and all the rest
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 712
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:58 pm

Musing on resurrecting extinct plants.

Post by bjn » Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:41 pm

I was listening to the Our Fake History podcasts on Rapa Nui/Easter Island and they covered the extinction of the native palm trees. Peeps have tracked the historical decline of the palm by examining pollen in various layers over time, which got me to thinking.

Would it be possible to partly resurrect a species by taking pollen from an extinct species and using to fertilise a close still living species to create a 50:50 hybrid. Take that hybrid and fertilise it with another sample of pollen from the extinct species, 75:25. Do it again, and again and again until you get something genetically quite close to the species what is no more. Would this be a thing that could be done?

I haven’t don’t any plant biology beyond high school stuff and general reading since then, so I’ve no real idea what the pitfalls might be beyond the obvious of having a supply of viable pollen and a finding a close enough species. Do plants have the equivalent of mitochondrial DNA only from the female of the species? That would limit how close you could get. Anything else?

Also, how long does pollen remain viable for? How much do you need for this to work?

Post Reply