‘De-extinction’ of the Woolly Mammoth: A Step Closer

Four thousand years after the woolly mammoth vanished from the Earth, scientists have deciphered the genetic blueprint that may offer a key to bringing it back.


By comparing DNA recovered from two long-dead individuals, a team of researchers have sequenced the species’s entire genome — effectively providing a gene-by-gene instruction manual on how to build a mammoth.

Their study of the newly sequenced genome, which was published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, offers all kinds of interesting insights into the animal’s past: when it first appeared, when it suffered from population bottlenecks, how it was affected by climate change.

But for people who work in the small but ambitious field of “mammoth de-extinction,” the genome is just as interesting for the role it might play in the animal’s future.

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