Author(s): Helen Pilcher
If you could bring back one living being from the whole of the history of time, what would you choose? Comedian and former stem-cell biologist Helen Pilcher has thought about this problem, a lot. In Bring back the King, Helen explains the cutting-edge science that makes the resurrection of extinct animals a very real possibility, and highlights her choices from eras gone by, from the King of the Dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex, to the King of Rock 'n' Roll, Elvis Presley, From dinosaurs to Dodos, Neanderthals to rock legends, Bring Back the King explains how the burgeoning field of DNA science is being used to help resurrect not just individual animals but entire species from their stony graves. Funny, intriguing and informative, Bring Back the King describes current initiatives and future plans to restore deceased animals, and uses both science and willful irreverence to assess how these genetic Lazarus's might fare in their brave new world. Could a pet dinosaur be trained to roll over? Would Neanderthals enjoy opera? Could a returning Dodo seek vengeance upon humanity? Blending the very latest de-extinction technology with cloning, dinosaurs with rock legends, and hard-core popular science with plenty of gags, Bring Back the King is a book that you will simply have to read.
A unique blend of the science of de-extinction, cloning and comedy
Helen Pilcher was a stand-up comedian for more than ten years, before the arrival of children meant she couldn't physically stay awake beyond 9pm. During this time, she performed at the Edinburgh comedy festival, at London's Comedy Store, and at various smoky pubs and clubs across Britain. She was a finalist for Jongleurs New Act of the Year (1998, 1999), the BBC New Stand Up Competition (1999) and Channel 4's So You Think You're Funny (1999). In 2002, she teamed up with fellow comedian Timandra Harkness to write and perform 'The Comedy Research Project' a stand-up comedy show commissioned for the very first Cheltenham Science Festival. Unusually, Helen is also a professional science writer, with a PhD in stem-cell biology. She was formerly a journalist for Nature online, specialising in genetics; before that, she ran the Science in Society programme at the Royal Society, and before that, she worked as a senior scientist for a biotechnology company, engineering a series of human stem cell lines for transplantation into damaged human brains, this following on from her doctoral research into stem-cell therapy for Alzheimer's disease.
Introduction: Bringin' it Back Extinction may not be forever / The Science of De-extinction / The human genome project / How to choose what to bring back Chapter 1: The King of the Dinosaurs The demise of the dinosaurs and their lasting legacy / What could possibly go wrong? / Candidates for resurrection / How to care for your dinosaur / The science of dinosaur de-extinction. Chapter 2: The King of the Ancient Humans The discovery of Neanderthals / I want my mummy / Could we clone a Neanderthal? / What's in it for them? / How would a Neanderthal fare today? Chapter 3: The King of the Elephants The giant animals of the late Pleistocene / Meet the mammophant / Pleistocene Park / Sea-cow resurgence Chapter 4: The King of the Birds The story of the Dodo / The Great Comeback - the Passenger Pigeon / As undead as a Dodo / Could the Dodo get its own back? Chapter 5: Australia's King of Beasts ... and the Gastric Brooding Frog Benjamin - last of the Thylacines / Thank heavens for alcohol / Reviving the Thylacine from a pickled pup / Call the Midwife: Return of the gastric brooding frog. Chapter 6: The King of Rock 'n' Roll The Malthusian growth model of Elvis / A brief history of human cloning / The Second Comeback Special / Resurrecting humans / Legal, ethical and technical issues. Chapter 7: All Shook Up We are more than our genes / The role of epigenetics / The torrid tale of the Burcardo Chapter 8: It's Now or Never Just because we could, should we? The ethics of de-extinction / Likely candidates / The hurdles / The future of conservation / Has Elvis really left the building?