Scientists plan to bring the woolly mammoth back to the Arctic ten thousand years after its extinction.
Renowned Harvard geneticist George Church and tech entrepreneur Ben Lam have founded Colossal, a new bioscience and genetics company that intends to bring several extinct species back to life.
Backed by £11m in initial funding, their first mission is to create a hybrid elephant resembling a prehistoric giant that would thrive in cold arctic climates.
The researchers plan to do this by taking skin cells from Asian elephants, which are threatened with extinction, and putting them in stem cells along with frozen mammoth DNA to make embryos.
These embryos will then be carried to full term in an artificial womb by a surrogate mother or in the laboratory.
The team expects to have its first set of calves within the next six years if all goes according to plan.
Dr Church and Mr Lam believe the elephant-mammoth hybrid can help slow climate change by cutting down thin, low-oxygen trees and exposing healthy, carbon-trapping grasses to restore the Arctic tundra. could.
“Our goal is to make a cold-resistant elephant, but it’s going to look and behave like a mammoth,” explained Dr. Guardian.
He added: “Not because we’re trying to trick someone, but because we want something that’s functionally equivalent to a mammoth, that enjoys its time at -40C, and does all the things that Elephants and mammoths do it, especially by taking down trees.”
However, not everyone in the scientific community is convinced.
Dr Victoria Herridge, an evolutionary biologist at the Natural History Museum, said the idea that the Arctic environment could be restored using a herd of “mammoths” was “not plausible”.
She said that at its peak 21,000 years ago, there were an estimated 200 million mammoths in Eurasia, so the scale at which scientists would have to experiment would be enormous – and it would take a mammoth 22 months to conceive and 30 years to grow to maturity. seem. .
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /