The Woolly Mammoth has been extinct for thousands of years, and recently a debate has been reignited over the idea of cloning the once massive beast and bringing the species back to life. Scientists in South Korea believe that they could bring such an animal back to life using the DNA that was found inside a mammoth that was exceptionally well-preserved in the Siberian snow.
Sooam, a South Korean biotech company, is the one responsible for funding this project and members within the company, and facility believe that cloning this creature is a very realistic expectation. However, many individuals from the outside question the ethics of cloning – as it raises serious concerns about the legality of cloning, and where cloning could take us in terms of population and humanity. Insung Hwang, who is a geneticist with the company, noted that they’re “Trying hard to make this possible within our generation.”
Essentially, scientists who do not agree with the ethics of such a project suggest that it would be cruel to the elephant that would undoubtedly be needed to act as the surrogate and carry the massive animal for 22-months. That process could be enough to severely injure, or kill the elephant carrying the mammoth.
Scientists go on to explain that the process would not be as smooth, or flawless as those in favor of the project have suggested. In fact, they believe that it would go significantly worse than what scientists are working on the project believe – and that it would come at the expense of many animals – not just one or two elephants. In other words, it could be many elephants being sacrificed for this project – and if it did not come to fruition, what would be the benefit of the project should life be lost?
Studies suggest that mammoths are incredibly social creatures, and that they would have an incredibly difficult time coping with weather conditions – as well as the fact that there would be – at most – perhaps one, or two mammoths in existence. Additionally, the creatures would have to live in captivity, and be faced with new, modern issues that didn’t even pose a threat to the animals when they originally existed.
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Extreme care for the animal in question would ultimately be what many say is the difference between a doable project, and one that should be left alone. It remains to be seen what, if any, steps the scientists will take to ensure that any animals involved remain safe.