Illustration of steppe mammoth that preceded woolly mammoth (Credit: Nature magazine) Photograph:( Twitter )
If we are able to bring extinct mammoths to life, it will be a huge boost to the efforts of environmental conservation
Woolly mammoths are just like an enigma. The huge beasts roamed the Arctic 10 thousand years ago and even co-existed with early humans. Today, the elephants do not have fur Woolly mammoths had to survive the cold of the ice ages.
Mammoths are extinct. There has been talk among scientists of bringing mammoths back to life. Scientists say that such a thing is conceivable as we have technologies like gene editing that allow us to make progress in this direction.
Now, the effort has got a firm financial backing as a bioscience and genetics company Colossal has raised USD 15 million.
The scientists have set their eyes on first creating an elephant-mammoth hybrid. For this, embryos with mammoth DNA will be created in the laboratory.
Starting point of the project will be to obtain skin cells from Asian elephants. These will be reprogrammed into more versatile stem cells carrying mammoth DNA.
The embryo will be then carried to term with the help of a surrogate mother or an artificial womb.
There will be hurdles in this path of course. But scientists feel that if all goes according to the plan, the first calves will be born in six years.
Probably ice age wouldn't remain only in the movies after all.