As we have noticed, there are a lot of things that science would like to do. Their imagination is limitless when it comes to new amazing projects, so every day a new experiment is created and announced to the world.
The new interest among the science community is regarding prehistoric mammoths, yes, that kind of brown furry elephant that is often seen in movies. This creature has been studied for many decades, so there are thousands of hypotheses about how they used to live, and they believed that they could be a great asset for our modern ecosystems.
They were a characteristic animal during the Ice Age, but they have been out of this world for 4.000 years. However, there is a project that pretends to bring mammoths back to life, this sounds like something from a movie such as Jurassic Park, but actually, it is more possible than you could think.
Even though in the past some experiments have achieved cloning some endangered species’ DNA, this is not what they want to do in this particular case, they rather want to create a hybrid between mammoths and modern elephants.
The experiment is under Harvard Medicine School’s hands, where a group of geneticists explained that although they have some preserved DNA from the extinct mammoths, it is too fragile and fragmented to actually clon it.
In order to create this new specimen, the genetics department of Harvard was granted $15 million by the company Colossal, which is going to help them to have the finished hybrid by four or five years in the future. Colossal is a genetics and bioscience company that would work with them.
They would mainly use the CRISPR technique, which allows them to modify the genome to alter the characteristics of an individual, such as an editing of the genes. This method has been very successful in the past, so they are hoping it helps them accomplish their mission.
Apparently, it is necessary to make over 50 changes in the Asian elephant’s genome so it can have the characteristics of the mammoth and could survive in the arctic. These are a few more changes that they made when they genetically modified pigs to make their organs compatible with humans. Still, a big problem is that they need to do this while the elephant is in the womb, and their pregnancies last 22 months, so they’ll have to wait that long to see their results.
Now you may wonder, what is the point of bringing back to our world this animal? Experts believe that mammoths could be a key species in restoring the ecosystem in the region of the arctic tundra, along with preserving Asian elephants and fighting climate change.