The authors of the project hope that these northern elephants will help preserve the permafrost
People will have the opportunity to see a living mammoth literally in six years. The participants in the project to recreate the “woolen elephants” that died out several thousand years ago want to take care of this. The creators of “mammoth 2.0” support the seriousness of their intentions with an impressive amount of money that they managed to collect for such a purpose.
Scientists from different countries have repeatedly spoken about plans to synthesize mammoths using biomaterials from the remains of these animals that have survived to this day and their direct descendants – elephants – in recent years.
According to the newspaper The Guardian, this time the American company Colossal, which specializes in biological and genetic problems, decided to take up the case. Its founder, an entrepreneur from Texas, Ben Lamm, managed to raise a large sum for financing – $ 15 million. The scientific part of the project will be led by geneticist George Church.
It is supposed to eventually get a hybrid of an elephant and woolly mammoth. As the specialists of the company explain, for this in laboratory conditions it is necessary at the first stage to create elephant embryos, in which mammoth DNA will also be present. George Church proposes to isolate from the biomaterials of fossil mammoths at his disposal specific genes responsible for the growth of long hair, fat layers that provide the animal with frost resistance. Modern elephants do not have such genes. Therefore, the scientist hopes to find them by detailed comparison of the elephant and mammoth genomes.
At the next stage, the embryo of the “mammoth elephant” will be planted by a surrogate mother – an elephant or an artificial uterus will be used. Dr. Church hopes that the first “synthetic” mammoths will appear within six years. “Our goal is to create a frost-resistant elephant, but it will look and behave like a mammoth. Not because we are trying to deceive someone, but because we want something functionally equivalent to a mammoth, which will feel great at -40 ° C and do everything that elephants and mammoths do, “the newspaper quotes the scientist as saying. genetics.
Even such a detail is mentioned, which speaks of the great foresight of Mr. Church: this geneticist wants to recreate not just a mammoth, but a mammoth with short tusks so that it is not of particular interest to poachers!
As the initiators of the project explained, it also has a purely practical significance. It turns out that mammoths, having multiplied, will help prevent a climate crisis on the planet, one of the reasons for which is the destruction of permafrost. So, the “northern elephants”, revived from oblivion, will compact the earth, helping to weaken its warming, and also destroy the trees that are overgrown in the north, which also interfere with the preservation of permafrost.
However, a number of other American scientists have already made critical remarks about the possibility of such a development of events. Specifically, University of Sheffield professor Gareth Phoenix said: “Mammoths are offered as a solution to help stop the melting of permafrost because they will destroy trees, trample and compact the land, and turn landscapes into grasslands that can help keep the ground cool. However, we know in arctic forested regions that trees and moss can be critical to protecting permafrost, so killing trees and trampling the moss will be the last thing you want to do. ”