Resurrecting the mammoth to fight climate change

Woolly mammoths, large herbivores of the plains of the northern hemisphere, are according to some scientists the answer to global warming.


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They disappeared 4,000 years ago but could well reappear.

Woolly mammoths, large herbivores of the plains of the Northern Hemisphere, are according to some scientists the answer to global warming.

An American scientist from Harvard Medical School decided to bring him back to life.

A living revolution that raises many questions but that could well and truly succeed. 


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It is a funny PMA that the American geneticist George Church wishes to set up.

In six years, he expects to be able to give birth to a baby mammoth. 

A surprising project but which genetically would hold the road;

thanks to CRISPR technology, the famous molecular scissors, which allows DNA to be modified at a specific location.

Since a large part of the genome of the woolly mammoth is now known to scientists, it would therefore suffice to modify the DNA of a fertilized egg of the closest species: the Asian elephant.

One of these females could give birth to a "mammophant" or "elemouth", to use the expression of Ludovic Orlando, a specialist in ancient DNA. 

Ethical issues

But why would we seek to bring the mammoth back to the 21st century?

Because it would be, according to the Russian scientist Sergei Zimov, partner of the American project, the perfect guardian of the permafrost: frozen surface of the Earth, which is found in particular in Siberia.

It contains very large quantities of carbon and its melting is a danger for climate change.

But at the time, the wanderings of the prehistoric pachyderm made it possible, for example, to compact the ground under the weight of its footsteps, keeping the earth compact and trapping the permafrost.

This project obviously raises ethical questions, especially since extinct species are not subject to the same genetic protection regime as living species. 

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