A Mammoth Boost for Protecting Biodiversity?

September 16, 2021

A team of scientists, backed by $15 million from a new company named Colossal, plans to genetically engineer an Asian elephant to produce a new species resembling the long-extinct woolly mammoth. Possessing traits needed to live in the mammoth’s original Arctic home, the tusked giants could, in the scientists’ vision, help revitalize the tundra ecosystem and slow the release of climate-forcing carbon dioxide. It might sound like science fiction. But in Issues, John O’Brien surveys an impressive array of current and evolving technologies that can be used to protect—and sometimes restore—species of all kinds and the habitats they depend on.

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