There have been several plans to revive the mammoths, but so far they have always failed in their infancy. But Colossal has now created a plan that is structured and rational. In addition, the start-up can rely on a stable source of funding and collaboration with a well-known Harvard genetics expert.
For the authors of the project, mammoths represent animals that could create a model for the restoration of damaged or even completely lost ecosystems, thus helping to slow down or even stop the effects of climate change.
“Never before has humanity been able to use the power of this technology to restore ecosystems, heal the Earth and preserve its future by repopulating extinct animals,” said Ben Lamm, chief and co-founder of Colossal, in a statement.
“In addition to restoring ancient extinct species such as mammoths, we will be able to use our technology to help preserve critically endangered species that are on the verge of extinction and restore natural communities that have already been destroyed by humanity,” Lamm said.
The road to prehistory
Mammoths inhabited much of the Arctic, but also commonly lived in large areas of Central Europe. They lived next to the first people to hunt these cold-resistant herbivores for food and use their tusks and bones as tools.
Avoided about four thousand years ago, they survived the longest on the Siberian islands and peninsulas, where they were isolated from the rest of the rapidly changing world. For decades, scientists have been extracting pieces of mammoth tusks, bones, teeth and fur to isolate and try to sequence mammoth DNA.
Colossal claims that its goal is to insert mammoth DNA sequences obtained from well-preserved permafrost and frozen steppe remains into the genome of Indian elephants to create an “elephant and mammoth hybrid”. The authors of the project believe that it should be successful – the Indian elephant and mammoth have the same DNA of 99.6 percent.
George Plan, a renowned geneticist and professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, is responsible for making this plan workable. It seeks to use advanced biotechnological techniques, such as CRISPR genetic shears, to save species. “The technologies used to fulfill our vision could create significant opportunities for nature conservation,” said Church.
If the mammoth population could really recover, according to the authors of the project, it could stabilize large areas of the Arctic. $ 15 million has already been raised from investors for this purpose.