De-extinction, similar to that seen in “Jurassic Park”, has long been a dream of geneticists, biologists and dinosaur fans around the world. However, in recent years, legitimate research has been carried out in an attempt to bring back the most iconic species of the Ice Age: woolly mammoths. Costing millions, if not tens or hundreds of millions, bringing back woolly mammoths would not only be a huge waste of money, but an act of animal abuse.
According to the Washington Post, start-up Colossal Laboratories and Biosciences announced a plan in mid-September 2021 to create a “cold-hardy elephant with all of the basic biological traits of the woolly mammoth.” It has been speculated that woolly mammoths could help fight climate change if released to their original range in Siberia and northern North America by scraping snow to allow on the ground from being frozen instead of being isolated, and spreading herbs in their excrement.
Colossal Laboratories is supported by Harvard Genetics Professor George Church and is said to use CRISPR-Cas9 to take DNA sections recovered from frozen mammoth bodies and splice them into the DNA of Asian elephants, the most living parent. close to mammoths. CRISPR-Cas9 takes specific sections of DNA strands and isolates them so that they can be inserted into other DNA strands.
With the highest estimates of wild Asian elephant populations being at 40,000, this chimera is not only a waste of time and money, but a danger to the entire species. Instead of focusing on bringing back a species that humans could have helped lead to extinction thousands of years ago, these resources should be devoted to protecting the elephants that are still alive today. hui.
Likewise, these mammoths would not survive a year in the wild. Poachers everywhere were heading for the tundra to kill a mammoth. Can you imagine the value put on a mammoth steak? On a defense? This is pride at its best and it might just be an excuse to launder money or eat elephant meat.
Elephants are intelligent animals too. These mammoths are said to be the first of their kind and would be plunged into a life of emotional neglect with no family members like them, no instincts, and no idea how to survive. Colossal Laboratories plans to use an artificial uterus to grow the baby instead of a surrogate mother. Where do they draw the line with smart life experimentation? Will geneticists try to bring back Australopithecus, a human ancestor three million years ago? What about the Neanderthals of just a few thousand years ago?
In bioethics, the lines are easily blurred and it is the duty of those not involved in research to criticize. Money and titles like “Harvard Professor” earn a lot, but bringing back “mammoths” that are nothing but Asian elephants wearing fur coats is a monumental waste of time and money that should be used. for better purposes.
Instead of spending millions on a useless dream, funds should be spent on projects that have a direct impact on climate change, such as installing wind turbines or combating desertification.
To see a mammoth in person would be amazing, especially as someone with a great interest in natural history, but this research is just another rich white man with a divine complex.
Image of Flickr