A revolutionary new technique for modifying the DNA known as CRISPR-Cas9 was declared the most important scientific breakthrough of 2015, according to the editors of the journal American Journal of Science. Thanks to this, the fantasy of reviving an extinct animal, which has been part of films like Jurassic Park, will be a reality within a few years. The doctor in molecular biology at Harvard University, George Church, is working on a project that seeks to give life a variation of an extinct animal 4000 years ago, the woolly mammoth and mammoth tundra.
The procedure is to recover DNA from the remains of a woolly mammoth that managed to preserve for thousands of years in the frozen tundras, then a coupling between the DNA genome of an Asian elephant stage is the laboratory of Dr. Church he managed to finish this year. The researcher says that the two species are so closely related that if the mammoth lived today, could breed successfully with elephants.
|Reviving the Mammoth|
Revive an extinct animal for thousands of years will be a reality
Because now you have the complete sequence of the mammoth genome, it has all the information necessary to modify the chromosomes of an Asian elephant, transforming it into a mammoth. Church said in an interview with Huffington Post, that technical CRISPR is 1000 times cheaper than previous methods, allowing researchers to remove, change or replace genes in any plant or animal.
Church says the goal is not to create a park mammoth but repopulate the vast tundra and boreal forests of Eurasia and North America with the "Asian elephant adapted to cold", protecting this elephant is an endangered species and also will revive pastures on the tundra, which can prevent or perpetual ice of Siberia permafrost melt. For the first time we see the elephants with mammoth DNA, which Church called mammoths, will have to wait five years while working to develop the embryonic stage and at least two years for a full term. He believes that within seven years or a decade, which is very little for this kind of progress, the world will see the first baby elephants adapted to the cold.
Criticism of the project are not lacking, the professor of ecology and conservation of Duke University in USA, Stuart Pimm, he told National Geographic that get this kind of research support and financial contribution under the guise of saving the environment, but the real purpose of complying with ambitious plans to create hybrids.
But George Church has faced ethical dilemmas ensuring that there are those who have the job of overcoming barriers and he is one of them. In addition also commented: "There is a very specific way to protect biodiversity with Asian elephants, we are not bringing back a species, we are strengthening the existing"***