Northern Tuskers: Scientists One Colossal Step Closer to ‘De-Extinction’ of the Wooly Mammoth – But Why?

Northern Tuskers: Scientists One Colossal Step Closer to ‘De-Extinction’ of the Wooly Mammoth – But Why?

Remember when we lived in a world in which science was not a necessary synonym for ‘bad ideas’?

From sex-change surgeries to blocking the sunlight from reaching planet Earth, there is no shortage of lunacy menacing us with possibly dangerous and even potentially catastrophic outcomes.

So, how about the de-extinction of animals? I mean, Jurassic Park may be fun to watch for a couple of hours, but do we want to live in it?

Take the mighty Wooly Mammoth, for example. No, I’m not kidding.

These big boys were the bosses of the northernmost regions in Eurasia and America.

They went extinct thousands of years ago through no fault of ours, so naturally, the sensible thing is to bring them back to life, right?

Remember when we lived in a world in which science was not a necessary synonym for ‘bad ideas’?

The company announced yesterday (6) that it has produced ‘a line of Asian elephant stem cells’ that can be ‘coaxed to transform into other types of cells’ needed to ‘reconstruct’ the extinct Mammoth — or, at a least, ‘a mammoth-like elephant designed to thrive in the cold’.

For some reason these scientists believe that having elephants in the North Pole is of paramount importance – don’t ask me why.

Washington Post reported:

“’It’s probably the most significant thing so far in the project’, said George Church, a Harvard geneticist and Colossal co-founder. ‘There are many steps in the future’.

For proponents, bringing back vanished animals is a chance to correct humanity’s role in the ongoing extinction crisis. Breakthroughs in their field, they say, may yield benefits for animals still with us, including endangered elephants.

Yet the technical challenges of birthing into the world a living, breathing mammoth remain, well, colossal. And the project raises hairy ethical questions: Who decides what comes back? Where will the reborn species go? Could the money be better spent elsewhere? And how hard will ‘de-extinction’, as the revival efforts are known, be on the animals themselves?”

Four thousand years ago, some Mammoth carcasses froze over in icy tundra and preserved bones, flesh, and fur. That gave paleontologists the chance to collect DNA fragments.

Some mammoth meat was so well preserved that – reportedly – at least one researcher has eaten it.

(Do you think they are reviving it for the barbecue?)

“By 2015, scientists sequenced its genetic blueprint well enough to offer a potential manual for remaking a mammoth. But to test what exactly each of these genes do — which give the beast their curved tusks, fatty build and, of course, thick fur — Church wants elephant stem cells in which he could engineer mammoth DNA and grow tissue samples.”

Ethical worries aside, the technological challenge to bring back the Wooly Mammoth is on par with the size of the beast.

“Eventually, the company wants to genetically edit a nucleus of a stem cell with mammoth genes and fuse it into an elephant egg. From there, if everything goes according to plan — still a big if — they will implant the embryo in an elephant surrogate and wait for it to give birth.”

Our Woolly Mammoth team has achieved a global-first iPSC breakthrough!

iPSC cells represent a single cell source that can propagate indefinitely and elephant iPSCs (the most elusive iPSCs to date) are now obtainable! #bioscience #deextinction #technology

— Colossal Biosciences® (@itiscolossal) March 6, 2024


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