A new company dedicated to genetic manipulation was born with one gigantic purpose: to save elephants from extinction and revive the extinct woolly mammoth.
Colossal – whose name could not be more appropriate for the purpose – was founded by geneticist George Church and businessman Ben Lamm. With an initial investment of $ 15 million, he aims to revive mammoths through controversial gene editing.
The idea has been in development for years by Church and Colossal, as a company, it will allow that project to advance faster, since it will have more resources at hand. According to Colossal, the scientific and technological part has already been resolved and now it is only a matter of scaling the initiative.
“The mammoth is almost an elephant,” he says. the Colossal website. The company says that the Asian elephant is the animal that shares the most genes with the mammoth and that both coexisted at the same time.
However, to revive the mammoth the African elephant was chosen for several reasons. One of them is that it is a species less threatened by extinction than the Asian elephant. And being larger, it is less difficult to get a hybrid elephant by inseminating an African pachyderm with an embryo from its Asian relative.
Colossal says it will have the first living mammoth calves in six years, which sounds overly optimistic, even for a project like this. And if the mammoth were to inhabit the Earth as before, climate change could be reduced, since these animals would help keep the Arctic ecosystem in good condition.
Beyond good intentions, everything Colossal says it is capable of seems like science fiction, as the project is very similar to the premise of Jurassic Park: take DNA from extinct animals and use the genes of their current close relatives to develop them. In the work of Michael Crichton that did not have a good ending and it is difficult to think that this project has a different destiny.