Researchers are hoping to develop clones of mammoths, extinct 10,000 years ago, to create a safari that will reproduce the Ice Age in Siberia.
Mammoths may be about to inhabit planet Earth again. This is because the return of the existence of the furry giants is deposited in a scientific experiment conducted by a team of researchers at Harvard University – which is modifying elephant cells with frozen mammoth DNA.
According to The Sun, scientists hope to develop clones of mammoths, extinct 10,000 years ago, to create a safari that will reproduce the Ice Age in a remote area of Siberia.
They claim that in addition to bringing the beasts back, the experiment can help restore balance in the Arctic region as it would stimulate vegetation growth
If the two-year project comes to fruition, the final creature would not be a full mammoth, but a hybrid of an Asian elephant and a woolly mammoth. “We are focusing on reliving the mammoth’s genes to generate a hybrid that can breed and rescue the Arctic’s wilderness,” said professor and project leader George Church.
The remains of the mammoth were found in a good state of conservation in the snowy deserts of Serbia, and by means of the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats technique (CRISPR), were reconstructed, reconstructing the genetic structure of a giant of the woolly species.
The researchers said that such a procedure allowed them to create cells with genes full of characteristics of this animal, such as long and shaggy, thick layers of fat and blood adaptable to cold.
Then, using gene-editing technology, they gathered segments of DNA into cells taken from a living Asian elephant, considered to be the mammoth’s closest relative today.
With that, they reprogrammed the skin cells to turn them into stem cells. According to the team, these cells have the same properties as embryonic stem cells and similar potential to become any type of tissue.
The Harvard group explains that the feats of the experiment can be grandiose, but reviving woolly mammoths can also pose risks. “We are working to reduce the negative factors, but we predict that local temperatures will drop more than 20ºC.”