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



Wife cranky after drunk Gladstone man pushes child off bike

MAIN STRETCH: After a night out on the town along Goondoon St, a Gladstone man started a fight with a group of young bike riders.

Drunk man starts fight with group of bike-riding kids

Tensions rise as more Gladstone workers vote on strike

Protected action ballot due next month for Gladstone workforce.

Gladstone considered for new multi-million dollar bio-refinery

Matthew Taarnby, Senior Technical Officer at the Northern Oil Refinery, Yarwun.
Photo Luka Kauzlaric / The Observer

New bio-refinery on the cards for Mackay or Gladstone.

Local Partners

MOVIE REVIEW: War for the Planet of the Apes

A scene from the movie War for the Planet of the Apes.

Andy Serkis monkeys around with Apocalypse Now.

Ninja Warrior airs clips of dead contestant Johann Ofner

Johann Ofner has been identified as the man shot dead in an incident in the Brisbane CBD this afternoon

He was killed before the series went to air.

Meet 7 of the Fraser Coast's most eligible bachelors

Fraser Coast eligible bachelor - Bobbi Depp.

Are you single and looking for love?

Justin Bieber speaks after cancelling 14 concerts

Helal’s selfie with Bieber

So is he starting his own church or not?

Kendall Jenner's raunchy pose could breach standards

Kendall Jenner

Other celebs including Rita Ora, Bella Hadid posted similar shots.

Beers, spirits and 131 years of history up for grabs

The 131-year-old General Gordon Hotel is on the market with all of its quirks included.

Pub with good beer and "lovely food” for sale 20 minutes from town

Tenant: Let me rent, I'll fix your property and pay for it

Noosaville tenant Tony Conyers thought his tenancy was guaranteed until 2035, so he spent his own money on the property. Now he's been told he may not be able to stay for even one more year.

Renter spent $30k on maintaining, improving property over 17 years

TENANTS FROM HELL: See the mess left by evicted couple

DISGUSTING: Mess left by evicted tenants. Owner of the Mongogarie property Christine Beatty has been left at least $5000 out of pocket.

Couple were 'living large' while not paying their rent

How Gladstone's cheapest and most expensive homes stack up

SPECTACULAR: This home on Springs Road, Agnes Water, is selling in the mid-$2 million range.

With the market currently low, now is the time to invest.