Could the Woolly Mammoth be brought back to life?

De-extinction scientists want to bring back vanished species by using new genomic technologies

If you thought the woolly mammoth and the dodo were gone for good, then think again – scientists in America are working to bring vanished species back to life.

Aided by new genomic technologies, biologists at The Long New Foundation in California are investigating the possibility of resurrecting creatures such as the sabre-toothed tiger.

The Revive and Restore project aims to achieve the “genetic rescue of endangered and extinct species”.

On their website, The Long New Foundation says: “The DNA of many extinct creatures is well preserved in museum specimens and some fossils. Their full genomes can now be read and analysed.

“That data may be transferable as working genes into their closest living relatives, effectively bringing the extinct species back to life.

“The ultimate aim is to restore them to their former home in the wild.”

In an interview with the New York Times Magazine, Steven Brand, the project’s president and co-founder, spoke about a plans to create a population of woolly mammoths in a Siberian preserve called Pleistocene Park, which was created by Russian scientist Sergey Zimov.

“We’ve framed it in terms of conservation,” Brand said. “We’re bringing back the mammoth to restore the steppe in the Arctic. One or two mammoths is not a success. 100,000 mammoths is a success.”

But it’s not quite Jurassic Park just yet.

Currently, the project is working to resurrect the passenger pigeon, which became extinct in 1914.

Ben Novak, the foundation’s research and science consultant, told the publication that the construction of the passenger pigeon genome is underway and that the scientists hope to have reintroduced the birds into the wild by 2060, if all goes according to plan.

And there’s certainly excitement in the scientific world surrounding the possibilities.

In a paper published in Science, the ethicist Hank Greely and the law professor Jacob Sherkow, both of Stanford University, argued that de-extinction ought to be pursued on the basis that it would “surely be very cool”.

However, many conservation biologists are concerned about the implications of the movement, questioning the logic of bringing back species whose environments have been destroyed, as well as the potential for creating a breeding ground for new diseases.

“We have answers for every question,” Novak told the New York Times Magazine.

“We’ve been thinking about this a long time.”

Then again, we all know what happened in Jurassic Park

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Martin of Coldplay performs live for fans at Enmore Theatre on June 19, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
music
Sport
Dave Mackay lifts the FA Cup in 1967 having skippered Spurs to victory
football
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Arts and Entertainment
As depicted in Disney's Robin Hood, King John was cowardly, cruel, avaricious and incompetent
film
Life and Style
Travis Kalanick, the co-founder of Uber, is now worth $5.3bn
tech
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Client Services Executive - Enfield, North London

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Client Services Executive - Enfield, North London ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn