Cloning a woolly mammoth? Might not be as crazy as you think.

Geneticist Hendrik Poinar is working on bringing the woolly mammoth back from the dead. In a talk at TEDxDeExtinction, he explains how scientists are extracting DNA from the remains of woolly mammoths preserved in permafrost.

From his talk:

If you had asked me ten years ago whether or not we would ever be able to sequence the genome of extinct animals, I would have told you, “It’s unlikely.” If you had asked whether or not we would actually be able to revive an extinct species, I would have said, “Pipe dream.”

But I’m actually standing here today, amazingly, to tell you that not only is the sequencing of extinct genomes a possibility, actually a modern-day reality, but the revival of an extinct species is actually within reach…

To learn more about the effort to sequence the woolly mammoth genome, watch the whole talk here»

Hendrik Poinar: Bring back the woolly mammoth!

Today’s featured TED Talk was filmed at TEDxDeExtinction, a TEDx event held this March that brought 25 experts from across the arts and sciences to National Geographic headquarters to discuss "de-extinction" — the science of bringing extinct species back from the dead. 

In this talk, geneticist Hendrik Poinar tells us about something that seems like it could only be a dream: the quest to engineer a creature that looks very much like our furry friend, the woolly mammoth. But the first step, to sequence the woolly genome, is nearly complete. And it’s huge.

But TEDxDeExtinction was about more than just the mammoth.
There was talk of reviving the long-gone passenger pigeon, of investigating extinct frogs whose eggs hatched in their mouth, and a look into the beautiful photography of one of National Geographic's prized photographers.

For a complete round-up of the event, read our post, Frogs giving birth through the mouth, DNA retrieved from the frost, and why Jurassic Park just won’t happen: 5 takeaways from TEDxDeExtinction”  or check out the TED Blog’s coverage of the event. 

And don’t forget to watch Hendrik’s talk up there — it’s pretty awesome.