Tech UPTechnologyThe Ice Age mammoth will be resurrected as a...

The Ice Age mammoth will be resurrected as a hybrid

10,000 years after woolly mammoths disappeared from the face of the Earth , a team of scientists from the American biotech company Colossal has embarked on an ambitious and controversial project to bring these enormous creatures back to life. Although there has been talk of doing so in the past, a $ 15 million investment from the company co-founded by Ben Lamm, a technology and software entrepreneur, and George Church , a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, has been more than enough to put the proposal on the table as a reality.

The biotech says it will use CRISPR genetic engineering to breed an animal that “would benefit the environment.”


Elephant-mammoth hybrid

That’s how it is. The company’s goal is to use genetic engineering, synthetic biology and other technologies to help save critically endangered species that are on the brink of total collapse, or even “resurrect” species that have become extinct , as in this case. the woolly mammoth ( Mammuthus primigenius ) that probably became extinct due to unsustainable hunting by Homo sapiens. Woolly mammoths were about 3.5 meters tall and weighed up to 6 tons.

His main project is the creation of a woolly mammoth hybrid. Using CRISPR technology, they hope to create an Asian elephant containing woolly mammoth genes that will exhibit many of the cold-hardy biological traits seen in extinct species that lived across much of Europe, North America, and North Asia. The idea is to take cells from the skin of Asian elephants, which are in danger of extinction, and reprogram them to turn them into more versatile stem cells that carry mammoth A DN.


The process

The resulting embryos would be carried to term in a surrogate mother or in an artificial uterus . If all goes according to plan, and the hurdles are far from trivial, the researchers hope to have their first pair of elephant-mammoth hybrids in six years. The first thing will be to sequence the woolly mammoth genome from a specimen that is well preserved, such as one that has been recovered after being frozen in permafrost.

They will then compare the ancient genome with that of modern Asian elephants to identify the parts of the DNA that encode the mammoth’s adaptations to cold weather, such as hair, insulating fat layers, and cold-tolerant blood. They will add that genetic material to the Asian elephant stem cells and finally, after using the Crispr-Cas9 tool, it would be implanted into an Asian elephant egg.

Scientists involved in this initiative to resurrect the mammoth say that the introduction of hybrids in the Arctic steppe could help restore degraded habitat and combat some of the impacts of climate change. In particular, they argued, the elephant-mammoth mixtures would knock down trees, helping to restore Arctic grasslands, keeping the soil cool. It would also help these environments to better sequester greenhouse gases.

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