ADVERTISING

TECHNOLOGY

CIA wants to revive prehistoric species such as the woolly mammoth

The CIA is funding a project that aims to revive iconic species like the woolly mammoth and Tasmanian tiger, but it’s not good news.

The CIA has become the latest investor in Colossal Biosciences, a genetic engineering company that wants to revive iconic species of the past, such as the woolly mammoth and Tasmanian tiger. According to LiveScience, reports indicate that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is funding research into the ‘resuscitation’ of extinct prehistoric species.

Through a venture capital investment firm called In-Q-Tel, which is funded by the CIA, the government agency has made a financial commitment to Texas-based Colossal Biosciences. The latter’s official website explains that its goal is to “see the woolly mammoth thunder over the tundra once again” by combining “genetic science with the business of discovery.”

ADVERTISING - CONTINUE READING BELOW

According to the In-Q-Tel blog, investing in the project will help the U.S. government “set the ethical standards” for genetic engineering technology and keep the country at the forefront of nations that may also be interested in engineered genetic code modification research.

Reviving prehistoric creatures

Colossal Biosciences appears to be interested in bringing back various prehistoric animals, such as the woolly mammoth that inhabited Arctic regions from North America to Siberia and became extinct at the end of the Pleistocene due to the disappearance of its natural habitat.

ADVERTISING - CONTINUE READING BELOW

But the interest in reviving species also includes others such as the Dodo bird, which disappeared from the Earth at the end of the 17th century due to human causes. The Tasmanian tiger is another animal that Colossal has its sights set on; this species became extinct in the 20th century, also due to anthropological causes.

Is it feasible to bring the species back?

Genetic engineering has been used in the past for nature conservation, but only cloning has been used as a measure to prevent species from becoming extinct forever. Genes have been taken from captive-bred specimens for cloning and then reintroduced into the wild.

ADVERTISING - CONTINUE READING BELOW

So far, genetic modification using the CRISPR addition technique, which is used to ‘copy, paste and replace’ specific gene sequences in DNA, is not a tool that has been used for nature conservation, and many have warned about the dangers this would bring.

The woolly mammoth, for example, lived in the ice age when temperatures were much lower than they are now. It became extinct due to climate change that wiped out its natural habitat, so the thought of reviving it brings with it an inherent ethical debate that cannot be ignored.

ADVERTISING - CONTINUE READING BELOW

In any case, the large amounts of money that the CIA intends to invest in resuscitating the woolly mammoth and other ancient species could be used for the conservation of species that are currently in danger of disappearing. However, it seems that beyond an animalistic objective, the agency seems to have a special interest in genetic modification, an area that is increasingly growing and completely lacks ethical and professional guidelines.

Story originally published in Spanish in Ecoosfera

ADVERTISING - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Podría interesarte
ADVERTISING
ADVERTISING