Ben Lamm and Dr. George Church are looking to bring a "Jurassic Park" feel to Colossal's de-extinction project.
Texas-based serial entrepreneur Ben Lamm and Harvard genetics professor Dr. George Church have joined forces to “de-extinct” the woolly mammoth with the goal of environmental restoration. The venture, Colossal, is backed by Bitcoin billionaires Tim Draper and the Winklevoss twins.
The bioscience firm recently closed a $15-million funding round led by Legendary Pictures founder Thomas Tull, with participation from Breyer Captial, Draper Associates, Animal Capital, At One Ventures, Jazz Ventures, Jeff Wilke, Bold Capital, Global Space Ventures, Climate Capital, Liquid2 Ventures, Capital Factory, Tony Robbins, and First Light Capital.
Colossal’s de-extinction project is aiming for a “Jurassic Park” -adjacent feat in resurrecting the woolly mammoth; more specifically, a “cold-resistant elephant with all of the core biological traits of the woolly mammoth.” In altering the genetic code of endangered Asian elephants, Church intends to implant test-tube embryos into the elephants, or artificial wombs, to grow mammoths that can thrive in the arctic permafrost. The objective is to restore plant root systems that mammoths feed on, as they pull carbon from the atmosphere in cold climates and revitalize ecosystems impacted by climate change.
There are ten core reasons for bringing the woolly mammoth back to life:
To decelerate melting of the arctic permafrost.
To prevent the emission of greenhouse gases trapped within the permafrost layer – up to 600 million tons of net carbon annually.
To revert now-over-shrubbed forest into natural arctic grasslands, which help with carbon emissions.
To restore the Mammoth Steppe.
To foster an ecosystem that can maintain its defenses against climate change.
To understand the dominant traits among cold-resistant genomes.
To save modern elephants from extinction.
To establish a proven link between genetic sciences and climate change.
To equip nature with resilience against humanity’s adverse effects on vital ecosystems.
To drive advancements in multiplex CRISPR editing.
Addressing the concerns about unintended consequences a la “Jurassic Park,” Ben Lamm told Dallas Innovates, “we are not bringing back species that would be invasive to its intended habitat…instead, Colossal is bringing back the woolly mammoth as a means to enrich an ecosystem that has been, and continues to be, steadily degrading without its presence.”