To Mammoth or not to Mammoth – return of the beast.
March 23, 2015
Question: does film imitate real life or does real life end up imitating film? Well if you have watched Jurassic Park at the movies or on DVD then you know the plot; basically an entrepreneur comes up with an idea to bring dead dinosaurs back to life and turn the whole thing into an amusement park. Of course, it all goes very wrong.
But, did that “going wrong” component stop scientists from Harvard University in the push to recreate the DNA of the Mammoth so they can once again walk the earth? No.
The scientists have been able to reproduce near exact copies of the Mammoths genes that separate them from there much less woollier cousins, the Elephant. In doing so the process enables them to make edits to the DNA profile thereby inching closer to an exact clone. George Church, Professor of Genetics at Harvard University told news outlets that:
“We now have functioning elephant cells with mammoth DNA in them. We have not published it in a scientific journal because there is more work to do, but we plan to do so.”
DNA Expert Beth Shapiro has said that scientists are not too far away now:
“If we really want to bring mammoths back to life, then we’re in luck, as far as DNA preservation goes,” “Some mammoths lived in places where their bones and carcasses were buried in permafrost, like being stuck in a freezer for 30,000-plus years.
“It’s in pretty shoddy condition, so hard to piece together, but if we sort through these tiny pieces, finding where they fit along the elephant genome, then we can slowly build a lot of the mammoth genome.”
It has been more than 3,000 years since the Mammoth gene was last alive which does beg the question of whether or not we should be going down this path at all. Of course, the entrepreneur in me says yes, but then I also have to sit back and ask whether or not the scientists are able to innovate or a pre-existing Mammoth to one that could be resilient to the changing and warming climate – otherwise they won’t be roaming too far. Unless of course, they are going to bred for “zoo” only placements which draws the ethics question into the debate.
What next? The Dodo or New Zealand’s great non-flying bird the Moa? Maybe they could clone Einstein so we could hurry up with this time travel thing!
What do you think?
About the Author: Lidija Pecov is EntreHub's chief corrospondent in Europe.
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