Colossal Laboratories & Biosciences aims to bring thousands of woolly mammoths back to Siberia. The scientists behind the initiative say their work could help reverse the effects of climate change and advance genetic engineering.
The majestic woolly mammoth went extinct over 4,000 years ago. However, the company, named Colossal, intends to genetically resurrect the species.
To rebuild the woolly mammoth genome, the scientists use samples from unearthed specimens, filling in the gaps with DNA from modern Asian elephants. The two species share 99.6 percent of their genome, the Daily Mail reports.
According to the company, reviving mammoths and repopulating them in the Siberian tundra could help reverse the effects of climate change.
After reconstructing the woolly mammoth genetic code, they plan to insert it into donor egg cells from Asian elephants, fertilise the embryos in vitro, and implant them into surrogates. The world could see the birth of the first woolly mammoth of the 21st century by an Asian elephant by 2028. After that, it will remain to find partners and governments willing to release woolly mammoths on their territories, the company says.
Since its launch in 2021, Colossal's staff has grown to 115 full-time scientists and 60 external collaborators.
Colossal has claimed that the woolly mammoth's foraging behaviors would nourish tundra grasslands, in turn capturing tonnes of atmospheric carbon and preserving melting permafrost.
Beyond the woolly mammoth, Colossal is also working on bringing back the dodo bird, as well as the thylacine, which was hunted to extinction in the first half of the 20th century.