New company Colossal, which was founded by a team of scientists and entrepreneurs, wants to attempt to revive the long-extinct woolly mammoth.
The company, which states on its website that it hopes to combat “the colossal problem of extinction,” has already secured $15 million in funding, per the New York Times. Believed to have gone extinct roughly 10,000 years ago due to warming climates and hunting, Colossal is putting significant resources into bringing the huge animal back to life.
“This is a major milestone for us,” said Harvard scientist and DNA sequencing pioneer George Church. “It’s going to make all the difference in the world.” The company is set to support research at Church’s lab, but it will also conduct experiments at its Boston and Dallas-based labs.
Among one of the company’s first efforts, headed by researcher Eriona Hysolli, will see the company attempt to edit elephant DNA to more closely resemble the mammoth. The plan right now, as lofty as it appears, is to produce embryos of “mammoth-like” elephants within a few years. Eventually, Colossal hopes to release whole herds of woolly mammoths into the wild in the future.
“In principle, one could make 100,000 at once over two years,” said Church, per Stat News. “I’m not saying that’s what we’re going to do, but it’s not necessarily a technical barrier, it’s more financial and willful.”