Resurrection of The Mammoths: One Step At a Time

Image source: National Geographic
Moving Towards De-extinction of Mammoths

The great woolly mammoths that vanished from Earth about 4,500 years ago are making a comeback and NOT at a theater near you. Scientists working at Harvard University claim that they are on the brink of reviving the ancient beast.

Since the remarkably well-preserved find of a mammoth in 2013 from the permafrost on Maly Lyakhovsky island, in northern Siberia, the scientists are abuzz. This might be the final step in the resurrection of the woolly mammoths.

For the past three years, it was more of a question of ‘could we’? But with the intriguing biotechnological expertise at disposal of scientists, it is now a question of ‘should we’?

But How?

Professor George Church, who heads the Harvard University team, believes CRISPR holds the key. CRISPR lets you either remove the gene completely or change the function of the gene.

Church says ‘we are trying to establish embryogenesis in laboratory.

Mechanism to bring back Mammoths from extinction
Mechanism to bring back Mammoths from extinction. Image Credits: Daily Mail

Dubbed as ‘mammophants’, these creatures, would be mostly elephant. However, a number of features like small ears, subcutaneous fat, long shaggy hair and cold-adapted blood would be edited in the elephant genome.

Church believes these modifications can help to preserve other endangered animals, albeit in an altered form. However, some believe it is wrong to clone them.

Matthew Cobb, Professor of Zoology at the University of Manchester, says: “The proposed ‘resurrection’ of mammoths raises a massive ethical issue – the mammoth are not just a set of genes, it was a social animal, just like humans.

Ever wondered to wander the Earth with these Mammoths? Imagine bringing back this ‘mammophant’ to the modern environment. How would today’s animals react to looking at this mammoth? Interesting, eh?


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Source The Guardian National Geographic

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