Plants And Animals

Harvard Scientists Claim They Could Resurrect Woolly Mammoth From Extinction Within Two Years

Scientists at Harvard are working on to resurrect the woolly mammoth from extinction through an ambitious feat of genetic engineering. According to the scientist leading the 'de-extinction' effort, the team could be just two years away from creating a hybrid elephant-mammoth embryo, in which the genes extracted from the frozen remains of woolly mammoth would be spliced into the DNA of an Asian elephant.

Scientists at Harvard are working on to resurrect the woolly mammoth from extinction through an ambitious feat of genetic engineering. According to the scientist leading the ‘de-extinction’ effort, the team could be just two years away from creating a hybrid elephant-mammoth embryo, in which the genes extracted from the frozen remains of woolly mammoth would be spliced into the DNA of an Asian elephant – the mammoths’ closest living relative – using the powerful gene-editing tool, Crispr.

George Church, lead researcher of the Harvard University Woolly Mammoth Revival team, said that the hybrid, sometimes referred to as mammophant, they’re about to create would be more like “an elephant with a number of mammoth traits” and would feature “small ears, subcutaneous fat, long shaggy hair and cold-adapted blood.” Also so far since the start of the project in 2015, the team has spliced 45 of these mammoth genes into the genome of an elephant embryo.

Harvard Scientists Claim They Could Resurrect Woolly Mammoth From Extinction Within Two Years Using Genetic Engineering. [Image: Woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), a model of an extinct Ice Age mammoth. © Andrew Nelmerm/Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley via The Guardian]

Matthew Cobb, professor of zoology at the University of Manchester, told the Guardian that “the proposed ‘de-extinction’ of mammoths raises a massive ethical issue – the mammoth was not simply a set of genes, it was a social animal, as is the modern Asian elephant. What will happen when the elephant-mammoth hybrid is born? How will it be greeted by elephants?”

Moreover, Beth Shapiro, evolutionary biologist, also an author of “How To Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction” said it would just be impossible to achieve a creature which was “100 per cent mammoth.”

Anyways, do you think it is right to resurrect woolly mammoth? Or, should every extinct animals be brought back to life? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

20 comments

  1. It seems most anything a human starts messing with becomes abused. As much as this piques my interest on a scientific side, I think it’s best ethically left alone. That’s all we’d need is a renewed interest in ivory and they would be slaughtered like the elephants are now.

  2. Read about this and began by thinking – no – things happen for a reason but then read how it would make a major difference to the environment because of what it can do with its tusks – we are living in extrordinary times and if bringing the mammoth back can improve our environment – hope we have herds of them.

    “Russian scientist Sergey Zimov believes that re-populating the Arctic with herds of large herbivores is the world’s last hope to prevent disastrous permafrost melting and runaway climate change — more carbon is locked up in permafrost than is in the Earth’s atmosphere today”

    1. At least they will be creating something close, and I don’t think they will be destroying anything. Let’s hope the mammophant will be genetically engineered to go well with the current environment. 🙂

  3. Not a very good idea. The cosmos has a reason for removing some animals long ago & with the social structure its the same as bringing a person back frm the dead long ago, they would not have any structure for another lifespan. These would not be valued by another today

  4. Fascinating, but maybe not in the best interests of the animals. Elephants are facing extinction. The ice caps are melting and mammoths were ice age animals. (Although if the possibility of Jurassic Park exists, I’m there!)

  5. Don’t bring them back! The earth can’t even support its existing population. It would be a shame to resurrect something that’s dead and gone and subject it to captivity, overcrowding and probable re-extinction, just to amuse ourselves.

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