The Return of the Mammoth
OPTION 1: CLONING
Researchers collect cells with intact genetic material from a woolly mammoth carcass that has been preserved in permafrost for thousands of years.
The Dna-containing nucleus is removed from of one of the collected mammoth cells and is then inserted into an egg cell from an Asian elephant. As the manipulated egg cell divides a mammoth embryo begins to develop.
The embryo is implanted into the uterus of a female elephant, and at the end of gestation she gives birth to a woolly mammoth. Due to the difficulty of finding intact genetic material, this scenario is considered unlikely.
OPTION 2: GENETIC MODIFICATION
Mammoths shared at least 95% of their DNA with elephants. A modern gene-editing tool known as CRISPR makes it possible to splice mammoth genes into an elephant’s genome.
The spliced genome that is transferred to an elephant egg cell codes for specific mammoth characteristics. The new genetic material makes a resulting elephant embryo develop into a creature that resembles a mammoth.
Depending on the precise degree of genetic manipulation, the baby that’s produced will look more like a mammoth or more like an elephant. This approach is regarded as more promising than cloning.