News

Wooly mammoth could be recreated in two years

Scientists might soon be able to create a hybrid embryo of an elephant and a woolly mammoth, they have said.

The work would be an important step towards the controversial mission to completely resurrecting the long-extinct animal.

That in turn could give rise to the rebirth of a range of creatures that have died out, with only their DNA needed to bring them back to life.

First, scientists hope to be able to create an embryo with features of a mammoth, such as shaggy long hair, thick layers of fat, and cold-adapted blood. Those would be combined with the DNA of an elephant.

With years more work, that embryo could then potentially be used to grow into a living create, bringing the animal back to life.

Eventually, scientists hope that they could nurture the embryo within an artificial womb. They have previously suggested implanting an embryo into an elephant - a move that has been criticised as cruel, since the animal would likely suffer or die during the procedure.

Since the project was started in 2015, researchers have been able to gradually add more edits into an elephant genome from 15 to 45. That means they can add more and more features from mammoth DNA, eventually moving towards a hybrid of the two.

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."

He added: "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."

The woolly mammoth roamed across Europe, Asia, Africa and North America during the last ice age. But it hasn't been around on Earth for 4,500 years - after it was killed off probably as a result of climate change and being hunted into extinction - until now.

Scientists have become more and more excited about bringing the animal back because of revolutionary gene editing techniques that allow them to precisely select pieces of DNA and then re-insert them, despite the fact that specimens have been frozen in Siberian ice for thousands of years.

Topics:  evolution science wooly mammoth


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

The world is invited to Whitsunday SESsions

Gavin "Butto" Butlin, Ellie Hanlon, Rob Cole, Mark Connors, Troy Jones and Kieran McCarthy (back) and Courtney Anderson, Daniel Moss, Leigh Munro (front) are ready to rock for Whitsunday SESsions.

Whitsunday SESsions will be live streamed across the world.

Council counts the cost of Debbie

The Airlie Beach Lagoon was closed due to damage from Tropical Cyclone Debbie in March.

It's a high cost to get the lagoon back to its original state

A warm Whitsunday welcome to Today Show

HANDS UP: Today Show weather presenter Natalia Cooper with Airlie Beach locals at Abell Point Marina yesterday morning.

The Today Show was welcomed to the Whitsundays this morning

Local Partners

New design coming to Airlie Beach roundabout

WHEN the Airlie Beach main street roundabout was stripped of its starfish one year ago, the question arose of what would replace it.

Debbie's graveyard: Major auction to clear written-off cars

Auto Repair and Towing Service owner Shane Muntelwit at the salvage yard behind Mackay Airport, which has become a graveyard for about 150 vehicles destroyed or written off by Cyclone Debbie.

A salvage yard has become a makeshift graveyard

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

What public holidays are left in 2017

Ipswich residents will get the day off tomorrow for the show.

IPSWICH residents will get tomorrow off for the show

Rebel Wilson says she didn’t have to lie to make it

I’M not glamorous, but that doesn’t make me a liar: that’s the message from Rebel Wilson on her second day in the witness box.

All bets on Judah to win battle to become the Voice

Judah Kelly from The Voice.

Judah Kelly is the clear favourite to win the competition.

Pirates in Whitsundays

ON SET: Pitaes of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, filming on Whitehaven Beach in July 2015.

The fifth instalment hits cinemas on Thursday

Kim Kardashian slammed over Manchester tribute

Kim Kardashian's tribute to Manchester didn't go down well

Top Gun 2 movie is happening, Tom Cruise confirms

Tom Cruise in a scene from the movie Top Gun.

TOM Cruise delights fans with announcement on Sunrise.

The first Baywatch movie reviews are in

From left, Jon Bass, Alex Daddario, Zac Efron, Dwayne Johnson, Kelly Rohrbach, and Ilfenesh Hadera in a scene from the movie Baywatch.

Critics were less than impressed.

A warm Whitsunday welcome to Today Show

HANDS UP: Today Show weather presenter Natalia Cooper with Airlie Beach locals at Abell Point Marina yesterday morning.

The Today Show was welcomed to the Whitsundays this morning

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!