As long as people continue to destroy habitats, trash the oceans, and release greenhouse gases into the sky, the planet will face catastrophic climatic change. Animals around the world are currently subject to the full brunt of harm. Many scientists are working tirelessly to attempt to stop the causes of species extinction, but others are seeking for more esoteric solutions to stop animals from ever genuinely going extinct.
Scientists have tried genetic cloning of ancient DNA as one such technique, known as “de-extinction,” to bring back extinct species. Even the CIA has started experimenting with the technology in light of scientists’ recent announcement that the Tasmanian tiger will be the first animal to be “returned to life.”
The de-extinction startup Colossal Biosciences has received funding from the CIA’s venture capital firm as well as other well-known investors, according to its portfolio.
The company hopes to use CRISPR gene editing to “watch the Woolly Mammoth thunder upon the tundra once again,” but other companies are focusing on smaller creatures. This is the proverbial “old elephant in the room.” Yes, they are attempting to reintroduce the Woolly Mammoth.
The company has stated plans to revive the Tasmanian tiger, so it doesn’t mean they won’t pursue other creatures as well. However, a mammoth would present a different problem.
Colossal asserts that the outcome won’t actually be a Woolly Mammoth but rather a cold-resistant elephant that is an exact replica of the mammoth. The Mammoth Steppe, formerly the largest ecosystem on Earth, will then be restored when it is returned to the mammoths’ primary habitat. Then, it is believed that biome restoration and allied conservation measures will stop the northern permafrost from thawing, preventing the release of enormous amounts of methane that are stored there.
It’s a massive undertaking with little prior experience. Colossal asserts to “have the technology,” but even this approach has its own challenges because CRISPR is most frequently used to alter single, focused genes inside the genome.