ambitions The formidable biological sciences They live up to the name of a North American startup that works to reverse the extinction trajectory of species we’re used to seeing in books, movies, and museums.
The CEO of the company, Ben Lam, explained to pass The goal is to free cells from Asian elephants, which share 99.6% of the woolly mammoth genome, causing them to acquire characteristics similar to those of the extinct animal. Then take these hybrids to the North Pole, restore their ecosystem and stop the permafrost from melting.
In his words: “It is estimated that we will lose up to 50% of all biodiversity by 2050 if we do nothing. But we now have genetic tools that allow us to better ensure the preservation of the species and even ‘de-extinction.’” Restoring the woolly mammoth corresponds With three main goals: to achieve advances in gene editing that can be used to conserve species and treat diseases that threaten them and human health; to develop ectopic pregnancy technologies, such as artificial wombs, re-establish the degraded Arctic ecosystem, and reintroduce a portion of the once-living megafauna There, in order to delay the thawing of permafrost.”
Permafrost is a year-round frozen soil that occupies about 25% of the Earth’s surface in the Northern Hemisphere, mainly in Russia, Canada and Alaska. It consists of small pieces of ice or large blocks of ice, and it can be a few meters or hundreds. Permafrost is also one of the largest natural stores of carbon dioxide and methane. However, global warming is contributing to the melting of ice and the release of these greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Where does the woolly mammoth come from here? It is believed that by thinning out the algae that came to cover the Siberian tundra and cutting down young trees, they would be able to keep the earth cool and delay or even stop thawing. It will take “a few thousand to affect carbon supply,” Colossal’s CEO tells Weekly.
Regarding pregnancy, in the first stage, Colossal is considering using surrogate bellies – from elephants – and then even building artificial wombs.
Why stop at the mammoth?
“If we think about this project as a whole, what we are doing is developing new technologies that, combined with existing technologies, can serve as a ‘de-extinction’ group of species, whether it’s woolly mammoths or white rhinos further north, says Ben Lam.
Despite the enthusiasm of the CEO of Colossal BioSciences, this project raises many ethical and practical questions. It remains to be established that the return of the mammoth to Siberia had the expected effect, so it is doubtful whether it is legitimate to implant embryos of one species into the womb of another species. These are not the only issues on the table.
However, the startup created in 2021, has already managed to raise $75 million for this project.
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