Dallas-based Colossal Biosciences has officially begun bringing the wooly mammoth back from extinction.
The company’s DFW-area labs have already begun the process, reported NBC 5 DFW.
Scientists plan to combine the DNA of present-day elephants with DNA salvaged from the ancient species to accomplish the task.
Scientists plan to use genome editing to alter the DNA of an Asian elephant until it essentially copies that of a wooly mammoth. Matt James, chief animal officer for Colossal, told NBC 5 that the DNA of the current-day Asian elephant is 99.6% similar to that of recovered samples of wooly mammoth DNA.
“We are creating technology that’s going to change tomorrow with de-extinction but what’s amazing is that those technologies are making a difference to endangered species conservation today,” said James, per NBC 5.
Colossal’s lab in Deep Ellum is already creating artificial wombs where wooly mammoth embryos could be incubated.
If successful, scientists would then work to reintroduce the species back into the wild. Researchers at Colossal believe that reintroducing the creatures to the wild would also help restore the planet’s climate.
“In the case of the cold-tolerant elephant mammoth hybrid specifically, rewilding equates to the reintroduction of a large cold-tolerant mammal grazer to the tundra regions of the Earth,” says the company on its website.
“By stirring up the ice-locked surfaces of the landscape, stomping out thin, low-oxygen trees, and exposing healthy, carbon-trapping grasses, Mammoth populations will begin immediately restoring the tundra’s role as a climate protector and balancer of greenhouse gases.”
London’s Natural History Museum records that wooly mammoths roamed Earth’s northern hemisphere for over 500,000 years before they went extinct 4,000 years ago. Scientists believe that the last wooly mammoths lived and died on the remote Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean, according to Science Daily.
Colossal has set a 2028 completion date for the endeavor.
The wooly mammoth is just one of many extinct species that Colossal hopes to bring back to life. The company announced earlier this year in February that it also intends to revive the dodo bird species, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.