Stem Cell Breakthrough Could Lead To Woolly Mammoth Resurrection


A pioneer in the field of de-extinction recently announced a significant breakthrough in its efforts to bring back the woolly mammoth—or more accurately, to create a cold-resistant elephant with mammoth-like traits.

The team at Colossal Biosciences has successfully developed induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from Asian elephant placental tissue. These are stem cells that can transform into any type of cell in the body.

The iPSCs created by the startup appear to have passed certain tests that show that they can, theoretically, be edited into sperm and egg cells of a mammoth-like creature, fertilized in vitro and injected into a surrogate to spawn an elephant with traits reminiscent of its ancient, now-extinct relative. In a recent paper posted to the preprint server bioRxiv, the team says that these stem cells can grow quickly without turning into other cell types unless directed, and they seem to be in a very versatile, youthful state compared to similar stem cells.

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