800Px-Mammoth Mammut Model

News From The Future: Make Your Own Pet Mammoth – Synthetic Biology… Synthetic Biologists Report Hijacking E. Coli Genome @ NYTimes.com

Synthetic biology, the quest to hijack living systems and convert them to human-directed goals, is on the march. Last year biologists synthesized the entire genome of a small bacterium and showed how it could successfully infect a second bacterium. Now, in what may be a more significant advance, biologists have shown they can radically change a genome, not just copy it.

A team led by Farren J. Isaacs and George M. Church of the Harvard Medical School has devised a method for making hundreds of changes in a genome simultaneously. This massively parallel intervention, as the changes are known, is one of the advances that would be needed in another project Dr. Church and others have contemplated, that of recreating the mammoth by starting with an elephant’s genome and changing it at the 400,000 sites at which elephant DNA differs from that of the mammoth.