What kind of experiment with the revival of mammoths is being launched in the UK? | Science | Society

What kind of experiment with the revival of mammoths is being launched in the UK?  |  Science |  Society

Scientists at Colossal Biosciences in the UK are working to reconstruct the genome of the woolly mammoth, which went extinct about 4,000 years ago. They plan to revive the population of these animals and get the first cub by 2028. The Daily Mail reports this.

How do scientists plan to revive mammoths?

The company’s scientists plan to reconstruct the genome of the woolly mammoth. In this they will be helped by the remains of mammoths, which are increasingly being discovered as the permafrost melts in the Arctic Circle. To fill in the gaps in the genetic code of ancient animals, experts want to use the DNA of modern Asian elephants, because the genome of these two species is 99.6% identical.

In this way, the DNA of extinct woolly mammoths will be combined with the genome of living Asian elephants. After this, scientists plan to introduce it into donor eggs of Asian elephants, fertilize the embryos in vitro and implant them in female elephants, who will play the role of surrogate mothers.

Why do British scientists want to revive mammoths?

The authors of the study want to revive the population of woolly mammoths and resettle them in the tundra, in wild conditions. They believe that these ancient animals will help save the planet from melting permafrost. The scientists’ hypothesis is that the woolly mammoth’s feeding behavior will lead to the expansion of tundra grasslands, which will absorb tons of carbon from the atmosphere and thereby preserve permafrost.

For its research, the company has raised $225 million in funding from private investors and companies investing in environmental research. If successful, the authors of the work plan to transfer their technology for the revival of extinct animal species to non-profit organizations and governments. In addition to the mammoth, they want to restore the population of two more extinct animals: the dodo bird and the thylacine (marsupial wolf or Tasmanian wolf).

However, not all scientists support the work of the British company. There are studies that conclude that efforts to stop species extinction are a net loss in the form of lost scientific resources.

“I’m not against cloning science, but I am against using it as a solution to conservation problems or even climate change,” said Joseph Bennett, an associate professor of biology, ecology and interdisciplinary sciences at Carleton University in Ottawa. “Unfortunately, this can have a net negative effect by attracting funding for risky and ineffective practices.”



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