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Science & Technology

Stem cell breakthrough brings de-extinction one step closer

By T.K. Randall
March 7, 2024 · Comment icon 21 comments
Woolly mammoth.
Could we soon see mammoths roaming the Earth once again ? Image Credit: Bing AI / Dall-E 3
Scientists have achieved a significant breakthrough that could help to bring mammoths back to life.
De-extinction might seem like science fiction right now, but over the next few years we could see the first ever extinct animal (such as a thylacine, mammoth or dodo) being brought back to life.

Several firms around the world are currently working on the problem and one of these is Colossal Biosciences - a biotechnology company that aims to achieve de-extinction as soon as 2028.

To this end, it has recently made a significant breakthrough by creating - for the first time - elephant 'pluripotent' stem cells that are capable of growing into any other type of cell in the body.

With these, it will be possible to test gene edits without the need for live animals.
According to Eriona Hysolli - head of biological sciences at the company - the breakthrough will also enable the team to identify the cellular and genetic processes behind the various adaptations (such as thick fur, fat deposits and curled tusks) that helped mammoths thrive in cold environments.

To produce an actual live mammoth, the team will ultimately need to combine the cells with genes taken from a mammoth that has been found frozen and well-preserved in the permafrost.

This, in turn, will make it possible to create a mammoth-elephant hybrid.

If all goes to plan, we could see this become a reality within as little as 4 years.

Source: Live Science | Comments (21)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #12 Posted by simplybill 3 months ago
A mammoth would be cool, but I’d much rather have a T-Rex.  ?
Comment icon #13 Posted by Edumakated 3 months ago
I could have sworn I saw a movie about this... it didn't end well.
Comment icon #14 Posted by pallidin 3 months ago
Yes! I know it's virtually impossible (yet) to revive a T-Rex, but yeah... I would pay to see it! ------------------ And listen, MysteryMeat, did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed again?    
Comment icon #15 Posted by moonman 3 months ago
Yep, let's give up on advancing anything since it failed a long time ago. Cool story bro.
Comment icon #16 Posted by MysteryMike 3 months ago
No I did not, also its MysteryMike. Fact remains, it won't be mammoths they'll bring back assuming they don't keep dying from birth defects but as said modified hairy elephants. True mammoths are gone forever.
Comment icon #17 Posted by moonman 3 months ago
That degree you have in genetic engineering is really paying off, huh.
Comment icon #18 Posted by MysteryMike 3 months ago
Here's the other thing too. Poachers would just make them extinct again.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Hankenhunter 3 months ago
That's what I was thinking. Some rich dude will want a head mount for his ginormous fireplace.  
Comment icon #20 Posted by Abramelin 3 months ago
No, it were the Neanderthals.... I think. Well, let's resurrect a Neanderthal too, put them both in a big cage, and see what happens.
Comment icon #21 Posted by Jon the frog 2 months ago
  The big thing in that mammouth resurrection, is them being patented bioengineered animals. They will fall outside poaching rules, ivory trade ban, hunting ban, etc. They will be able to do whatever they like with them.


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