New York.- Jurassic Park could stop being a blockbuster epic and become a reality: A group of scientists is trying to revive the woolly mammoth that disappeared 4,000 years ago.
Advances in genetics in recent years have brought back lost animals be a tangible possibility.
Scientists have already succeeded in cloning endangered animals and They can sequence DNA extracted from bones, even from long-extinct species.
geneticists, led by specialist George Church of Harvard Medical School, They aim to bring back to life the woolly mammoth, which disappeared 4,000 years ago.
They imagine, in this way, that the Ice Age giant with long fangs has been returned to its natural habitat.
The efforts of the experts received a huge boost in the past hours with the announcement of an investment of $15 million.
Proponents of the project argue that bringing the mammoth back in a modified form could even help restore the fragile ecosystem of the Arctic tundra, combat the climate crisis, and conserve the endangered Asian elephant, with which the woolly mammoth is closely related.
However, according to scholars opposed to the project, it is a bold plan fraught with ethical problems.
The team of geneticists explained that the goal is not to clone the mammoth since then The DNA that scientists were able to extract from the remains of a frozen woolly mammoth is highly fragmented and decomposed.
for this reason, They will try to createThrough genetic engineering, A living and walking hybrid of an elephant and a mammoth, which would be visually similar to its extinct predecessor.
“Our goal is to have our first animals in the next four to six years.”said tech entrepreneur Ben Lam, who with Church co-founded Colossal, a biosciences and genetics company, to support the project.
The investment and new approach put forward by Lamm and his investors are a step forward, said genetics professor Robert Winthrop at Harvard Medical School.
“Up until 2021, this was kind of a side project, frankly, but now we can do it,” Church said, adding: “This will change everything.”.
The research team analyzed the genomes of 23 living elephants and extinct mammoths.The expert said. Scientists believe they would need to program “more than 50 changes” in the Asian elephant’s genetic code at the same time to give it the traits necessary to survive and thrive in the Arctic.
Church has been at the forefront of genomics, including the use of CRISPR, toA revolutionary tool for gene editing that has been described as rewriting the code of life to change the characteristics of living species.