American biotech company, Colossal Biosciencesseek to bring back to life a baby mammoth that died millions of years ago.
To bring the extinct species back, researchers will need the help of Asian and African elephants, as the DNA of a frozen mammoth was not fully preserved.
The molecule, however, can be completed with the DNA of the Asian elephant, whose genome is 99.6% identical to that of one of the mossy giants. The African elephant will be in charge of gestating the fetus, since this species is larger.
“The mammoth we are working on will be about the size of an African elephant.”, explained Ben Lamm, director of Colossal Biosciences.
The company believes that the long-extinct woolly mammoth will return to life as early as 2027.
The Russian candidate for Biological Sciences Pavel Kosintsev supports the idea of his American colleagues to cross DNA between mammoth and Asian elephant.
“The big problem would be getting the DNA from which to revive a mammoth. The best preserved are in frozen carcasses of mammoths from Yakutia (the largest republic of Russia. – Ed.)”said.
The scientist noted that many difficulties lie ahead.
“The transition from a molecule to a living organism is a very complex process. At the moment when DNA turns into a mammoth, many difficulties can arise. The DNA has to implant itself in the egg, then the egg has to implant itself in the elephant, and then the elephant has to give birth to a fetus.”Kosintsev explained.
The next question is whether the resulting hybrid will be viable.
“Until the mammoth calf reaches sexual maturity, we won’t know if it’s viable. In addition, it is unknown if these individuals will want to reproduce“said the expert.
According to the scientist, similar experiments have already been carried out successfully in Russia: “Our cloned cow recently gave birth.”
The scientist stressed that the results of animal experiments are important for humanity: “If the results are successful, it will be an important contribution to the treatment of hereditary diseases. Because the DNA rewriting technique is the same for a mammoth as it is for a human being,” Kosintsev concluded.
Mammoth babies were 65-75cm Tall.