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This startup is going to resurrect the mammoth through CRISPR: they plan to do it in six years and have raised millions for it

The mammoths are one of the best preserved extinct animals along the history. This is because we have generally found them in areas of Siberia where they have literally remained frozen in time. Now a group of researchers wants to take the next step: take advantage of genetic engineering to resurrect the mammoth from extinction.

It is believed that the last mammoths became extinct around 4,000 years ago. Where they last lived was in the north of the globe, around the Arctic Circle. Resurrecting the mammoth would mean demonstrating the capabilities of genetic engineering to conserve extinct or endangered species.

The mammoth genome is actually already sequencedOr, we managed to sequence it completely in 2015 and since then, related advances have not stopped emerging. And it is that their DNA has been relatively well preserved compared to that of other animals. A few months ago we saw how a mammoth tusk preserved DNA from billions of years ago. The idea of ​​resurrecting him is in fact not new either.

CRISPR as a tool for resurrection and preservation

CRISPR technology, how revolutionary it has been in biology in recent years, allows modifying the genome of a living being extracting parts of the DNA and then inserting them elsewhere. With this idea in mind, part of a mammoth’s DNA could be extracted and inserted into elephants. The result, they hope, is a hybrid between the two species with sufficient capacities to survive in environments such as the Arctic.


Unlike in Jurassic Park, the goal here is not to put on a show with an extinct species. According to researchers at Colossal (the startup behind this), they seek resurrect the mammoth to repopulate areas of the planet where it previously lived and now they are abandoned.

When we discovered CRISPR, I said to myself: "this is going to be crazy in biology" and then absolutely nothing happened »: Francis Mojica

In addition, the same CRISPR techniques could be used in the future to stabilize threatened species that have not yet gone extinct. By editing DNA, it would be possible to offer certain species better characteristics that help them survive and adapt to the living conditions of their environment. At the moment Colossal has $ 15 million raised to do so, and a few years of research ahead of us before we see a mammoth-elephant hybrid roaming the Arctic.

Via | STAT