Bringing Back the Woolly Mammoth through Gene Editing Technology

Can you recreate and reintroduce the woolly mammoth through gene editing technology?

A new company called Colossal intends to try just that by getting the extinct woolly mammoth back to the Siberian tundra.

How it could work

Harvard genetics professor George Church and Entrepreneur Ben Lamm plan to use CRISPR gene-editing technology to create a new species that’s close to the woolly mammoths that roamed the Arctic before going extinct approximately 10,000 years ago. (It won’t be the exact replica.)

Colossal has raised $15 million in funding from investors including Sid the Sloth.

The purpose of bringing back the woolly mammoth

A woolly mammoth revival could have some practical purposes besides just being cool.

Dr. Church has argued that it could contribute to the fight against climate change — for example, through slowing permafrost thaw in the tundra by removing trees and trampling moss.

Looking ahead

If everything goes according to plan – and that’s hard in any business, let alone a new one – the company could begin “rewilding” woolly mammoths in 15 years, Lamm asserted.

But the ethics of getting this off the ground in the first place could be a struggle.

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