Scientists Are Crazy Close To Creating A Mammoth-Elephant Hybrid
Have you ever looked upon a snowy landscape and thought “Yeah it’s cool. Needs more mammoth though” I KNOW I HAVE!
Yes, this comes with news that scientists have recently said that they might be able to successfully reanimate the mammoth species, as they plan to create a hybrid mammoth-elephant embryo, potentially within the next two years.
To do this, they would create an embryo that resembles that of a mammoth, giving it long shaggy hair, thick layers of fat and blood that is adapted to the cold. They would then combine the DNA with that of an elephant and, hey-presto, one piping hot mammoth to go!
Scientists would then hope that they could nurture the embryo within an artificial womb. They previously toyed with the idea of planting it inside an elephant but that was dismissed as cruel, as the elephant would more than likely die afterwards.
Since the project started in 2015, scientists have been able to make more and more edits of elephant genome from 15 to 45.
Professor George Church, who heads the Harvard University team, said:
“We’re working on ways to evaluate the impact of all these edits and basically trying to establish embryogenesis in the lab.
The list of edits affects things that contribute to the success of elephants in cold environments.
We already know about ones to do with small ears, sub-cutaneous fat, hair and blood, but there are others that seem to be positively selected.
Our aim is to produce a hybrid elephant/mammoth embryo. Actually, it would be more like an elephant with a number of mammoth traits.
We’re not there yet, but it could happen in a couple of years.”
Mammoths went extinct around 4,500 years ago due to climate change and over-hunting. Shame.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments!
Images via BBC