Scientists launch plan to bring back extinct woolly mammoths to the Arctic

SCIENTISTS are aiming to bring back woolly mammoths to the Arctic, ten thousand years after they became extinct.

The possibility of recreating the giant beasts has been studied for years. 

Now researchers have fresh funding which they think can make it a reality. 

The boost comes from £11million raised by the bioscience and genetics company Colossal, co-founded by entrepreneur Ben Lamm, and George Church, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School in the US.

They want to create a hybrid by making embryos in the laboratory by putting skin cells from Asian elephants into stem cells with mammoth DNA. 

The genomes are taken from animals recovered from the permafrost.

Embryos would be carried by a surrogate mother.

Prof Church said: “Our goal is to make a cold-resistant elephant, but it is going to look and behave like a mammoth.

“Not because we are trying to trick anybody, but because we want something that is functionally equivalent to the mammoth, that will enjoy its time at -40C, and do all the things that elephants and mammoths do.”

The team believes the animals could help restore the Arctic steppe by knocking down trees.

But Dr Victoria Herridge of the Natural History Museum said the plan was “implausible".

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