“Our aim is to produce a hybrid elephant-mammoth embryo,” said Prof George Church. “Actually, it would be more like an elephant with a number of mammoth traits. We’re not there yet, but it could happen in a couple of years.”And it's okay to do this... just for fun?
The creature, sometimes referred to as a “mammophant”, would be partly elephant, but with features such as small ears, subcutaneous fat, long shaggy hair and cold-adapted blood. The mammoth genes for these traits are spliced into the elephant DNA using the powerful gene-editing tool, Crispr.
Church... said the mammoth project had two goals: securing an alternative future for the endangered Asian elephant and helping to combat global warming. Woolly mammoths could help prevent tundra permafrost from melting and releasing huge amounts of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.Oh, come on! I can't believe we're even being invited to consider believing that the point of this project is to combat global warming (and by knocking down trees!).
“They keep the tundra from thawing by punching through snow and allowing cold air to come in,” said Church. “In the summer they knock down trees and help the grass grow.”
ADDED: I'm wondering what America would be like today if we had been sharing the territory with mammoths all this time, especially if we were also modifying our behavior to be careful to preserve them from extinction. I wouldn't want them rampaging around my neighborhood knocking down trees. And we can punch our own snow.