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01st Feb 2023

Company given $225 million to bring dodo and woolly mammoth back to life

Jack Peat

They plan to use DNA to give birth to animals that had once all died out

A company has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to bring back extinct species – and plan to start with the dodo and woolly mammoth.

US genetics firm Colossal Biosciences are studying how to alter the DNA of existing animals to try and get them to give birth to animals that had once all died out.

Things are still in the very early stages, and we’re not expecting Mammuthus primigenius to be stomping around the Earth anytime soon, but the technology could pave the way for once-extinct animals to roam free again.

“We’re already in the process of the de-extinction of the wooly mammoth,” Colossal said in a statement.

“Our teams have collected viable DNA samples and are editing the genes that will allow this wonderful megafauna to once again thunder through the Arctic.”

By using the DNA of today’s Asian elephant (which is a 99.6 per cent match), boffins hope they can edge closer to cracking the genetic code of the mammoth and bring it back from the dead.

While “in the minds of many, this creature is gone forever”, the company said the wooly mammoth lives on in the dreams of the team at Colossal, which hope a breakthrough could be just years away.

Colossal executive advisory board member Kenneth J. Lacovara added that even though the wooly mammoth seems like an ancient beast, they also lived in a time in history that saw written stories, the Great Pyramids, and brewed beer.

“That’s not some ancient Jurassic landscape—that’s this world, and they belong in it. When we lost them, and other recently extinct creatures, we forfeited the ecosystem services they provided,” Dr Lacovara said.

“By bringing them back, we could help restore a world tipped out of balance by us humans.

The paleontologist added: “We have a chance now to begin to reverse the tide of destruction and to set ourselves on a pathway towards a renewed, regenerative world.”

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