TechWoolly mammoths could walk the earth by 2028. Start-up's ambitious resurrection plan

Woolly mammoths could walk the earth by 2028. Start-up's ambitious resurrection plan

Groundbreaking genetic research on woolly mammoths
Groundbreaking genetic research on woolly mammoths
Images source: © Licensor
12:56 PM EST, December 29, 2023

A Texas-based startup, Colossal Biosciences, aims to bring the woolly mammoth back to existence and reestablish this extinct species in the Arctic tundra. Working with Dr. George Church, a pioneer in mammoth de-extinction research, the company is confident in having the required DNA, technology, and knowledge. They anticipate the first mammoths could appear as early as 2028.

Woolly mammoths may reappear on our planet

The potential reemergence of mammoths in the environment is considered a positive step toward climate control and could aid in combating climate change. Experts list several potential benefits of this venture, including slowing the Arctic permafrost melt, reducing the emission of greenhouse gases trapped in permafrost, and protecting existing elephant species from extinction.

As Newsweek details, research found a 99.6 percent DNA similarity between the woolly mammoth and the Asian elephant. Subsequently, the females of the Asian elephant species are seen as perfect surrogates for the mammoths. The intention is to transplant the embryos of the extinct species into the Asian elephant by 2026.

A technique called Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) will be used to facilitate this. This technique uses electrical impulses to stimulate the fertilization of hybrid egg cells. Scientists will determine if the cells meet their requisite standards before initiating artificial fertilization. If all goes according to plan, the first mammoth could be born after an estimated 18-22 months (the gestation period for elephants) - potentially in 2028.

These mammoths will then be relocated to specific Arctic habitats, initially in Canada and Alaska. These habitats will be under the watchful eye of experts. Mammoths aren't the only species that Colossal Biosciences is attempting to resurrect. The company is also investigating other options, studying crucial species for maintaining ecosystem stability and exploring how to revive them through genetic engineering. The dodo, a giant extinct bird species from the pigeon family, is an example of such a species.

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