I just read a fascinating article in the MIT Technology Review by Antonio Regalado, “How much would you pay to see a woolly mammoth?” This story has everything, the mega-rich investor (Peter Thiel), an oversized (potentially) dangerous and extinct animal, and a scientist convinced that its DNA can be retrieved and cloned. Wait, haven’t we heard this one before?
Woolly mammoths lived approximately 300,000 years ago, mainly during the Pleistocene. They walked the Earth a thousand years after the Egyptians built the Pyramids at Giza.
Regalado interviewed Sara Ord, director of species restoration for “de-extinction” company, Colossal. Ord is trying to determine how to use gene editing to modify the cell DNA so that an Asian elephant, for example, turns into something resembling a woolly mammoth. When could this happen? According to Ord, as early as 2027. What will they do with it if successful? One thought is to partner with zoos.
Colossal, however, is a for-profit company. Any concerns here? Maybe we should stream old films…