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Scientists Are Trying To Revive Woolly Mammoths By Using Asian Elephants' Skin Cells

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

You've probably watched Fox Animation's Ice Age and seen the woolly mammoth in the animated movie. While woolly mammoths have been extinct approximately 10,000 years ago, a team of scientist are trying to revive the species!

Apparently, this isn't the first time the idea came about by serious geneticists, a new round of funding of US$15 million raised by the genetics company Colossal has gotten a team led by Harvard Medical School professor, George Church excited to finally make the dream a reality. Colossal was co-founded by Church and his techpreneur partner, Ben Lamm.

The process will start with the creation of embryos carrying mammoth DNA, which involves taking skin cells from Asian elephants that are already threatened, and reprogram them into versatile stem cells that carry the DNA of woolly mammoths. Following this, they will then need to get a surrogate mother or an artificial womb to successfully carry the embryos throughout the full term until they're ready to be born.

While the challenge was proven to be extremely difficult, the team hopes to observe the first set of mammoth calves within 6 years. “Our goal is to make a cold-resistant elephant, but it is going to look and behave like a mammoth. Not because we are trying to trick anybody, but because we want something that is functionally equivalent to the mammoth, that will enjoy its time at -40 degrees Celsius, and do all the things that elephants and mammoths do, in particular knocking down trees,” Church said.

Do you think they will succeed?


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