Over the centuries, various species of animals have gone extinct, and right now, there are many who are endangered and are on the brink of extinction. However, it is possible that maybe one day, this won’t have to be a problem if scientists are able to successfully resurrect animals that were once thought to be lost forever.
Such a project is currently being undertaken at the Harvard Medical School by geneticist George Church. The researchers are hoping to bring back the woolly mammoth which disappeared 4,000 years ago, where they are also hoping that the resurrection of the animal could help restore the Arctic tundra ecosystem, combat climate change, and preserve the Asian elephant, which is a close relation to the woolly mammoth.
However, this isn’t just about cloning. This is because the DNA that scientists have recovered so far are too fragmented and degraded to make that possible. Instead, what the researchers are hoping to do is through genetic engineering, they’ll be able to create an elephant-mammoth hybrid that would be indistinguishable from the original.
The researchers have since received $15 million in funding to make it a reality, and there are plans to maybe produce the first calves in the next 4-6 years.
That being said, there are ethical concerns to such a project, such as using living elephants to act as surrogates for a genetically engineered animal. Some also express skepticism that reintroducing the woolly mammoth might not necessarily have a positive impact on climate change as some would have hoped.