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This company is trying to revive the woolly mammoth species, which went extinct around 4,000 years ago. Although it won’t be the exact species, the scientists plan to genetically engineer thousands of these animals that can roam the Arctic to help combat climate change.
Source: FOX 13 Tampa Bay/Youtube
The company, Colossal Biosciences, is a start-up that wants to resurrect an animal that resembles the woolly mammoth by creating a genetically engineered Asian elephant that is cold resistant and has the biological traits of the extinct species.
The lead behind the science is renowned geneticist George Church who also leads synthetic biology research efforts at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Church’s long-time dream of bringing back the woolly mammoth began when he teamed up with tech entrepreneur Ben Lamm to create Colossal Biosciences.
Although it will be difficult to create a hybrid elephant with traits from a wooly mammoth, Church told Newsweek that they plan to use advanced gene editing technology. Asian elephants are the closest living relative of the woolly mammoth, sharing around 99.6 percent of DNA.
“Indeed, the Asian elephant and the woolly mammoth are closer to each other than either of them is to the African,” Church told Newsweek.
The company is trying to achieve this to reintroduce them to the wild to restore the health of the Arctic environment. They believe that bringing back this animal will help slow down the melting of the Arctic permafrost. In their time, mammoths were vital in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Mammoths can help store grassland that can help prevent thaw and release of greenhouse gasses. Grassland is better at reflecting sunlight than trees in the Arctic because they are lighter in color, Newsweek reported.
The company plans to focus on regions of the Arctic that have the highest carbon content because more methane will be released if the permafrost thaws more in these areas.
“The carbon content of these carbon-rich areas add up to more than the rest of the forests of the world put together,” Church told Newsweek.
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