Newsroom / CNA
The return of hairy mammoths, a species that became extinct 4,000 years ago, in the icy Arctic soils, is envisioned by a new American company, Colossal.
The company "will launch a practical and effective regeneration model and will be the first to apply advanced genetic modification techniques to reintroduce the hairy mammoth into the Arctic tundra," the company said in a statement.
The reproduction of animals similar to a species that has become extinct through genetics is not accepted by all members of the scientific community, with some researchers wondering whether this can be achieved and others worrying about the dangers of its application.
The company, created by businessman Ben Lam and geneticist George Church, plans to insert the hair of a hairy mammoth (from samples found in Siberia) into the genus of Asian elephants, hoping to create a hybrid species. Asian elephants and hairy mammoths have similar DNA, 99.6%, according to Colossal.
The creation of hybrid pachyderms and their reintroduction into the tundra will allow "the restoration of lost ecosystems, which could help stop or reverse climate change," the company said.
Mammoths, for example, could "revitalize arctic meadows" that capture carbon dioxide and absorb methane, two greenhouse gases. The biotechnology company managed to raise $ 15 million, from private funds, to achieve this goal, despite the skepticism expressed by many.
"There are so many problems along the way," biologist Beth Sapiro told the New York Times. "This is not a re-creation. "There will never be mammoths on Earth again."
"If it does work, it will be a chimeric elephant, a completely new organism, synthetic and genetically modified," said Tori Herridge, a biologist and paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London.