The Harvard Woolly Mammoth Revival Team has been conducting research since 2015 which looks at the genes of the woolly mammoth, which went completely extinct about 4,000 or more years ago. The scientists part of this research team have used mammoths which froze after they died, leaving them and their DNA well preserved.
The Woolly Mammoth Revival Team is being lead by Professor George Church, who is an expert geneticist. He has access to the technology allowing them to genetically engineer the woolly mammoth genes in order to bring the species back. The technology they are using is CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), which allows the scientists to change specific parts of DNA.
The revival team has explained that the completion of the genetics engineering stage of bringing back the mammoth species could be as soon as a couple of years, and this is because they have almost successfully engineered a mammoth and elephant hybrid in the form of an embryo. They have to create the embryo as a mammoth and elephant hybrid as the elephant is the closest relative to the woolly mammoth which is currently alive. However, the embryo’s DNA will mean that there will be more traits of the woolly mammoth and will be the best hope for the scientists being successful in bringing back the Woolly Mammoth.
The scientists will not use an elephant to grow the embryo once it has been successfully developed. This is because they don’t know if there would be any complications as the embryo grows, so they have decided when they get to that stage, they will create a womb which will be designed specifically for the growth of the embryo.
Scientists hope that this project is successful, as they believe that bringing back the mammoth species will be good for the environment. They believe that bringing back the mammoth species will slow down global warming. This will also be good for other species within the animal kingdom as well as humans and other living organisms such as plants.
Links with more information:
Bringing back the mammoth