Many people love the iconic main character of fairy-tale films and informative books, the woolly mammoth who lived in the Ice Age and became extinct ten thousand years ago. People often place them in the same category as dinosaurs, even though they are separated by 65 million years. It is difficult to understand that mammoths already existed on Earth when man was still building the pyramids. Colossal Biosciences co-founder, geneticist George Church, said that he will now work to revive the woolly mammoth with the help of available technological achievements. Newsweek.
For nearly ten years, George Church has been toying with the idea of creating a technology company that could bring back species and restore ecosystems to mitigate human damage. I will do all this because, as they say, we may lose up to 50% of biodiversity by 2050.
The degraded ecosystem will be restored with mammoths
Because they know that mammoths lived in the taiga and tundra during the Pleistocene, they are able to use the mammoth genome and missing genes to recreate elephants as a cold-adapted species, Church said. In this way, they will achieve the return of mammoth populations, which will improve biodiversity and ecosystem vitality. In recent years, several studies have been published about what the Mammoth Steppe would have looked like.
According to the researcher, restoring the ecosystem with mammoths in this way will have a “healing” effect over a long period of time. He pointed out that the animals' pregnancy lasts 22 months, which represents a difficulty for the project. However, he believes that if greater efforts are not made to protect elephants, we may soon lose them.
The remains of woolly mammoths, which are in good condition and contain internal organs, are preserved in Siberian permafrost, and there is still no possibility of reviving these extinct individuals according to their condition ten thousand years ago. DNA extracted from the remains could be inserted into the DNA sequence of the Asian elephant, which is closest to the woolly mammoth, thus creating a sample genetically similar to the woolly mammoth. The animal to be revived will not be a real mammoth, but rather a hybrid elephant reminiscent of it. They will have shorter tusks so they will not be as attractive to ivory traders.
In the second generation of mammoths, we want to incorporate additional traits, biodiversity and genetic diversity to create hybrid herds. Our goal is to return sustainable, healthy populations of these species to the wild
He claims that the first mammoth calves will be born in 2028. They are currently in the editing phase. They also say that they will consider the birth of the mammoth as day one and begin genetic engineering.