Mammoth Return?

Colossal Biosciences, a biotechnology company based in Dallas, has announced that it aims to bring back the woolly mammoth! It has recently taken an elephant-sized step towards its wild and contentious goal to repopulate the Arctic tundra with this ice age titan. By 2015, scientists had sequenced mammoth genes from a preserved Siberian carcass. Thus began the quest to clone the famous beast. While, it would be extremely interesting to see such a creature alive on the planet, cloning is far from a perfect science. You might recall Dolly, the sheep that was cloned some years back. She only lived for about 6 years. But the mammoth job presents some extra obstacles. For years, getting the right elephant stem cells to test all those cold-climate characteristics proved elusive. This was in part because elephant cells’ ability to avoid cancer made reprogramming them with the clone DNA difficult. Colossal claims they have now produced the stem cells they need by suppressing the anti-cancer genes and bathing the cells in the right chemical cocktail. Some might naively think that the next thing will be to bring back a dinosaur. But there is one huge difference. We have living female elephants that can provide the eggs and act as surrogate moms. The egg contains all the machinery that knows what to do with the DNA instructions. Our labs cannot “make” a living creature just from DNA. Nothing can replace the God-given processes that wondrously occur in the womb!

Posted on April 2, 2024 by dwoetzel.