At the time, scientists were learning how to reconstruct the genomes of extinct species based on DNA fragments obtained from fossils. It has become possible to identify the genetic differences that distinguish ancient species from their modern cousins, and to begin to see how these differences in DNA led to differences in their bodies.
Dr. Church, known for his invention of DNA reading and editing methods, wondered if he could effectively revive extinct species by rewriting the genes of a surviving relative. Since Asian elephants and mammoths have a common ancestor that lived about six million years ago, Dr. Church thought it would be possible to modify the elephant genome to produce something that looked and acted like a mammoth.
In addition to scientific curiosity, he said, woolly mammoths could help the environment. Today, the tundra in Siberia and North America is getting warmer as animals graze quickly and release carbon dioxide. “The mammoth is the answer, in theory,” Dr. Church argued.
The tundra is dominated by algae today. But when the mammoth was woolly, it was mostly meadow. Some scholars have argued that woolly mammoths are the ecosystem engineers who maintain lawns by breaking up moss, cutting down trees and fertilizing their droppings.
Russian ecologists imported bison and other species to a reserve in Siberia, naming them Pleistocene gardenHoping to return the tundra to the grassy areas. Dr. Church argued that a revived mammoth could do this more effectively. According to him, the restored lawns will prevent thawing and soil erosion and can prevent the thermal capture of carbon dioxide.
Doctor. Attracted a lot of church Attention from the press However, the little funding exceeds $100,000 from the PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. Lab D Church has been channeling massive research into other, better-funded studies. “This set of tools can be used for many purposes, whether it’s extinction or recoding the human genome,” said Dr. Hesoli.
Dr. Hesoli and her colleagues analyzed the genomes of woolly mammoths collected from fossils and compiled a list of the most important differences between animals and elephants. They focused on 60 genes their experiments suggest are important for mammoth traits such as hair, fat, and a high-domed skull that characterize woolly mammoths.
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