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In a couple of years we will be able to observe the revival of mammoths

06 March 2017, 09:00

Harvard scientists will be able to create an animal that is a hybrid of a mammoth and an elephant - and this will happen for the next two years.

Mammoths completely disappeared from our planet about four thousand years ago. However, only now scientists have started talking about the fact that they have come close to the possibility of reviving the oldest animal - true, in the form of a product of genetic engineering, a mammoth hybrid and an elephant.

In a speech at the annual congress of the American Association for the Advancement of Scientific Development in Boston, scientists representing the University of Harvard said that they only need about two years to complete the creation of a hybrid animal based on a mammoth and an Asian elephant that will have all the basic signs of an ancient mammoth .

The animal, which in the end should turn out, was already called "mammophant" - it will be a sort of elephant, but with small ears, a small subcutaneous fat layer and an elongated shaggy hair. For the reconstruction will be used DNA samples, found frozen for many millennia in the ice of Siberia.

Now the team of scientists is working on the creation of embryos, although this project was launched in 2015. Since that time, experts have increased the number of "corrections" of embryogenesis, and now they are working in a specific direction.

Dr. Matthew Cobb, a zoologist at the University of Manchester, doubts the advisability of such an experiment: "It is not known what will follow the birth of such a mammoth hybrid, and how elephants habitual for us will react to it."

To revive an animal that existed so long ago is very difficult. Moreover, mammoths are the optimal "candidates" for revival. Moreover, their closest "relatives" are perfectly preserved in our time - these are elephants.

Despite the fact that at the moment there is not a sufficient amount of suitable genetic material, scientists do not abandon their idea. Undoubtedly, for all the years a huge number of remains of the ancient animals were found, but practically all DNA samples were damaged by permafrost.

Perhaps, with a lack of suitable DNA, the genetic modification of the elephant's genome will be applied, with the replacement of a certain number of genes. As a result, a creature that probably will not have all the external characteristics of the extinct mammoth should be obtained, but will be as close to it as possible.

The reconstituted genome (a collection of gene material) will be implanted in the elephant embryo, which, in turn, will be placed in the cavity of the artificially created uterus.

Specialists-researchers hope that the evolution of technology in two years will allow them to realize what they have conceived, as today it is impossible to fully implement these processes. Scientists are not without optimism: according to their forecasts, in a few years we will be able to see not only the real mammoth specimen, but also a diverse park of ancient animals.

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Last reviewed by: Aleksey Portnov , medical expert, on 16.05.2018
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