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



Cyclone Debbie making landfall as communities take cover

The Whitsundays in the eye of Cyclone Debbie.

Cyclone could be 'devastating for many, many hours'

Cyclone Debbie: What to do when she hits

Radar Image from the BOM site.

Emergency details you will need before and after cyclone hits

Criminal family affair: Brutal attack ends in jail

Brent William Ibbotson and his mother, Leanne Otto.

A man, his mother and her father-in-law all had a hand in an assault

Local Partners

'Definitely going up': Banana prices tipped to rise in wake of TC Debbie

NOW could be the time to stock up on bananas with prices tipped to rise in wake of TC Debbie.


Fuel Frenzy

Win a $1,000 Fuel Voucher
Learn More

CMC Rocks is just the ticket for Eric Paslay

HAPPY TO BE HERE: American country singer Eric Paslay will play CMC Rocks 2017.

Country music singer is touring overseas for the first time.

Daredevils of Nitro Circus to thrill Lismore

Oakes Oval in Lismore will host the sell-out, worldwide phenomenon that is Nitro Circus Live during its 15-city Australian tour in April.

The (in)famous 55-foot high Nitro Giganta ramp is the centrepiece

CHOOSING LIFE: Emu Park veteran leads way out of PTSD

WINNING THE FIGHT: Andrea Josephs with her daughter Kyla (10) at the Emu Park Anzac Memorial ahead of her official Matilda Poppy launch this weekend.

Andrea Josephs will officially launch Matilda Poppy in new hometown

Married at First Sight's controversial groom laying low

MARRIED At First Sight groom Anthony is laying low as he cops national backlash after being portrayed as a “controlling” husband.

Seven, Nine’s crazy cyclone battle

Ruth Western ain't got time for Cyclone Debbie.

Reporters are battling fierce winds, and locals who won’t play ball.

MAFS bride shops around new love story

Nadia Stamp has put a price tag on her new man.

Nadia is shopping her $4000 new man ... and it’s not Anthony.

Amy Shark takes out top prize at Queensland Music Awards

Amy Shark won three Queensland Music Awards last night.

VIOLENT Soho, Dami Im and The Amity Affliction also honoured.

Kyle Sandilands declares war after dodgy editing

Shock jock Kyle Sandilands has issued a grim on-air warning

HEARTBREAK: M'boro farmer misses out on love on reality show

Susan Rawlings and Sean Hollands in a scene from Married At First Sight. Supplied by Channel 9.

Hearts were broken during Sunday's Married at First Sight episode.

Art show judge honoured to take on job

NEW JOB: Geoff Head is looking forward to being the guest judge for the Gladstone Ports Corporation's Paint the Port art competition.

'Significant': guest judge for art competition announced

Luxury hotel expands $400m water park development

Developer to push on with second stage of massive new water park

Oceanside commercial opportunity in Sunshine Coast hot spot

Adjoining Kings Beach redevelopment sites "one of a kind''

Dalwood waterfall up for sale

Two people have died at Dalwood Falls, Ballina.

How would you like to own your very own waterfall?

Council to auction off Gladstone region land, buyer must develop

Tents and caravans at the Boyne Valley Country Music Campout, Ubobo. Photo Luka Kauzlaric / The Observer

Council will auction four parcels of Gladstone region land next week

'It's a pity': Residents living in Brookview limbo land

The balance of Brookview Estate at Glen Eden is for sale, after the developers behind the project went bust.

Brookview Estate residents speak out on the sale.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!