The word ‘wooly mammoth’ only reminds us of the famous character of Manny from the movie ‘Ice Age’. The story of Manny, struggling with the ice age, overcoming the challenges and looking after his family, created a fascination about this giant animal called wooly mammoth. Though the creature went extinct thousands of years ago, scientists are trying to artificially create this elephant-like mammal through cloning.
Woolly mammoth, which had significant populations in the northern hemisphere during the pre-glacial period, went extinct due to hunting and the climate change. According to experts, warmer atmosphere due to the end of the ice age shrank the habitat of these giants.
Researchers at Harvard University are working towards bringing these animals back to life by use of elephant genome. The DNA of the mammoth will be inserted in the genome in the laboratory, according to the research paper, which is still incomplete.
The mammoth DNA is obtained from Arctic permafrost specimens of the mammoth. The DNA helped them to recreate 14 genes of mammoth after rigorous analysis.
The Asian elephant, closest living species to mammoth as per the gene map was chosen for the experiment. Sophisticated technique of ‘clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat ‘allowed them to edit DNA in such a way that modern DNA was manipulated to replace prehistoric genes. Elephant cells are fully functioning now with mammoth DNA.
Many scientific commentators have termed this process as a part of ‘De-Extinction’. The scientists at Harvard also said that woolly mammoth can help for the betterment of ecology at Siberia.