Researchers say artificial womb could grow mammoth-elephant hybrid

Avatar By Tyler MacDonald | 3 years ago

A team of Harvard University researchers claim that they have isolated and “resurrected” 44 woolly mammoth genes, , according to CNET. Headed by geneticist George Church, the team spoke at the Fourth International Vatican Conference in Vatican City last Friday, suggesting that they can use gene editing to create a mammoth-elephant hybrid in an artificial womb.

“My goal is not to bring back the mammoth, it’s to bring back mammoth genes and show that they work and that we have already done it,” Church said.

In order to accomplish this, Church claims that his team needs to let the embryo grow “in vitro in the lab.” The goal is to create a “vascularised decidua,” which is a term for uterine lining with the vascular structure of blood vessels that could support life. This lining would originate from stem cells

“We have one paper coming out which is a general method where we can turn stem cells into any tissue you want, and in this case we want decidua, which is the tissue into which the embryos implant, and we’re trying to make a vacularised version of that,” Church said.

And although growing a mammoth-elephant in the laboratory might not happen anytime soon, the structure that Church and his team hope to create “would be a good environment for initially a mouse embryo and then later larger mammals.”