Harvard Professor Plans To Resurrect Woolly Mammoth To Fight Climate Change


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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio)—There are many different ways humans have tried to fight back against climate change, but Texas and Boston based company Colossal Biosciences have a unique proposal—resurrecting the woolly mammoth.

Colossal, founded by Harvard geneticist George Church and Texas-based tech entrepreneur Ben Lamm, is on a mission to revive the extinct species using genetic technology pioneered by Church's research in genome editing.

Their goal is to use the genetic code of the modern Asian elephant—which shares 99.6 percent DNA similarity with the woolly mammoth, according to Colossal—and sequence it with the DNA collected from bones and tissue samples from mammoths to create embryos of a new species of mammoth. Some of this genetic work will take place in Church's lab in Massachusetts.

But how will reviving the woolly mammoth help fight climate change? Colossal claims that by reintroducing the woolly mammoth to its original habitat in the Arctic, it will help prevent the melting of the permafrost, which will reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses trapped in the ground. They also believe that by reintroducing the mammoth into the gene pool, they can help prevent the extinction of the modern elephant.

“Colossal leverages the exponential progress made in technologies for reading and writing DNA and applies it to iconic ecological conservation and carbon sequestration issues,” Church said in a press release Monday.

Church and a small team had been working a project for nearly nine years until he teamed up with Lamm and founded Colossal. The new company boasts investment from many venture capital firms and has reportedly received $15 million in funding.

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