Startup Plans to Resurrect the Woolly Mammoth This Decade

Startup Plans to Resurrect the Woolly Mammoth This Decade

The company, known as Colossal, has picked up $15 million in funding to begin work on the project. This is not a Jurassic Park scenario — Colossal isn’t going to clone the original woolly mammoth species. Instead, it will use CRISPR to make modifications to the genome of the endangered Asian elephant, a creature that shares over 99.9 percent of its DNA with its extinct cousin.

According to Church, who has been musing about resurrecting the mammoth for years, the team has already identified the mammoth genes that gave the animals shaggy coats, small ears, and more body fat. Theoretically, it should be possible to add these genes to the Asian elephant to create something that looks an awful lot like a woolly mammoth. These animals would be able to survive the intense cold in northern latitudes just like the original animals.

Colossal hopes that resurrecting the mammoth will bring attention to climate change and the loss of species. While there won’t be a Jurassic Park-style tourist attraction, Colossal has identified a 60 square mile region in northern Russia where researchers can test ideas about rewilding — that is, reintroducing the engineered mammoths into the environment. Among other things, Colossal believes that mammoths could help remake the land by knocking down trees and trampling the ground to eliminate snow cover. That could lead to the return of grasslands that insulate the ground and prevent seasonal thawing, which is breaking down permafrost and releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide and methane greenhouse gases as the planet warms.

Startup Plans to Resurrect the Woolly Mammoth This Decade

Not everyone is convinced that de-extinction is the best use of time and energy when it comes to protecting the environment. However, Colossal contends that this technology could eventually help bring back other species and even prevent others from going extinct by increasing the genetic diversity of endangered creatures.

In order to make any of this happen, Colossal will need to develop new genetic tools and possibly even artificial womb technology. Even if the effort to resurrect the mammoth is unsuccessful, those technologies could be valuable. That helps explain why investors were ready to pump $15 million into a moonshot company. If Colossal can turn vision into reality, the first engineered mammoths could be born as soon as 2027.

Continue reading

AMD Has No Near-Term Plan For Hybrid Big, Little Cores on Same Silicon
AMD Has No Near-Term Plan For Hybrid Big, Little Cores on Same Silicon

AMD has no plans to build a hybrid CPU with big and little cores any time in the near future, but the company continues to evaluate the concept.

Sony’s PlayStation 5 Debuts to Strong Reviews
Sony’s PlayStation 5 Debuts to Strong Reviews

Reviews have come in for Sony's PlayStation 5, and while they're a bit preliminary for the same reason as the Xbox Series X, they're broadly positive about Sony's latest gaming effort.

A Mars-Like Planet Might Be Hiding in the Outer Solar System
A Mars-Like Planet Might Be Hiding in the Outer Solar System

Astronomers have been on the hunt for a theorized ninth planet in the extreme outer solar system, and now a study suggests there might be another planet out there. Unlike the massive (and completely hypothetical) Planet Nine, this one is believed to be a small, rocky world like Mars.

The PlayStation 5 Will Only Be Available Online for Launch Day
The PlayStation 5 Will Only Be Available Online for Launch Day

The PlayStation 5 isn't going to be available in stores on launch day, and if you want to pick up an M.2 SSD to expand its storage, you'll have some time to figure out that purchase.