What’s happening in Siberia’s thawing permafrost and Greenland’s melting glaciers sounds borderline supernatural. Ancient viruses, bacteria, plants, and even animals have been cryogenically frozen there for millennia—and now, they are waking up.
Earth’s climate, as we know, swings hot and cold through natural geologic cycles. During ice ages, the planet’s reservoir of frozen seeds, eggs, plants and microbes build up, but when the Earth warms, so, too, do these cryobanks. The reintroduction of “lost” genes may not be human invention at all, but rather, a natural process that’s been occurring since life first emerged on this rock.