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.
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.