What DNA is needed to bring a species back?

22 July 2014

Question

How much of an extinct animal’s genome is needed to bring it back? Can we just sort of do a plug and play with the missing bits and fill them in with something else?

Answer

George Church (Harvard University) - Well, the simple answer is, we don't know. But we think that if the goal is to bring back part of the genome and adapt it for new environments, the old genome needs to be changed in any case. The critical thing is, how close a genome do you have and in the case of mammoths, they're very, very close to Asian elephants. They're both close to each other than they are to the African. So, I think that's a best case scenario relatively small number of changes might be needed to adapt them to the cold.

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