Russian scientists to attempt clone of woolly mammoth
2011 12 08

From: bbc.co.uk


Scientists from Russia and Japan are undertaking a Jurassic Park-style experiment in an effort to bring the woolly mammoth out of extinction.

The scientists claim that a thigh bone found in August contains remarkably well-preserved marrow cells, which could form the starting point of the experiment.

The team claim that the cloning could be complete within the next five years.

But others have cast doubt on whether such a thing is possible.

Mother cow?
The team, from the Siberian mammoth museum and Japan's Kinki University, said that they planned to extract a nucleus from the animal's bone marrow and insert it into the egg of an African elephant.

Similar procedures have been done before with mixed results.

In 2009 it was reported that the recently extinct Pyrenean ibex was brought back to life briefly using 10-year-old DNA from the animal's skin. The cloned ibex died within minutes of being born, due to breathing difficulties.

The Roslin Institute, famous for cloning Dolly the sheep, no longer conducts cloning work but has published some thoughts on the possibilities of bringing extinct species back to life.

It said it was extremely unlikely such an experiment would be successful, especially using an elephant surrogate.

"First, a suitable surrogate mother animal is required. For the mammoth this would need to be a cow (as best biological fit) but even here the size difference may preclude gestation to term," it said.

The success rate for such an experiment would be in the range of 1-5%, it said.

The second issue would be the need for viable whole cells.

"If there are intact cells in this tissue they have been 'stored' frozen. However, if we think back to what actually happened to the animal - it died, even if from the cold, the cells in the body would have taken some time to freeze. This time lag would allow for breakdown of the cells, which normally happens when any animal dies. Then the carcass would freeze. So it is unlikely that the cells would be viable," it said.

Assuming that viable cells are found it becomes a numbers game, it went on.

"Let's say that one in a thousand cells were nevertheless viable, practical issues come into play. Given that we have an efficiency of 1% cloning for livestock species and if only one in a thousand cells are viable then around 100,000 cells would need to be transferred," it said.

Hybrid
Charles Foster, a fellow at Green Templeton College, Oxford, seemed more optimistic.

"The idea of mammoth cloning isn't completely ridiculous.

"How the resultant embryos would fare beyond the stage of a few cells is more or less unknown," he said.

While most of the genetic coding of the embryo would come from the mammoth, some would come from the elephant ovum.

"We really don't know what the contribution of that cytoplasmic material is, or how it would interact with 'alien' DNA," he said.

It would however mean that, even if successful, the clone would be a hybrid rather than a pure mammoth.


Source: bbc.co.uk



Related Articles
Researchers aim to resurrect mammoth in five years
Mammoths and Other Great Beasts Peppered with Material from Space
First genome transplant turns one species into another
Researchers may remake Neanderthal DNA
Was there a Stone Age apocalypse or not?


Latest News from our Front Page

NATO Exercise in Ukraine Coincided with MH-17 Shoot-down
2014 07 24
Rapid Trident was omitted from the flurry of coverage on the shoot-down MH-17. From the U.S. Army in Europe website: Rapid Trident supports interoperability among Ukraine, the United States, NATO and Partnership for Peace member nations. The exercise helps prepare participants to operate successfully in a joint, multinational, integrated environment with host-nation support from civil and governmental agencies. ...
Warning of ’imminent’ terror attack in Norway
2014 07 24
Norwegians were warned Thursday of the concrete possibility of a terror attack occurring in that country at the hands of people with connections to an extremist group in Syria. A press conference was called in Oslo, Norway on Thursday where an announcement was made of a "possible concrete threat" to national security in that country from terrorists related to an extremist ...
Judge says government can access everything in a Gmail account
2014 07 24
All your emails are belong to us. At least that’s what the latest court order from a judge in New York says. The warrant, granted on June 11, states that the government can access all the content and files contained in a Gmail account. Yes, this is a significant blow to privacy. The subject of this specific search relates to a money laundering ...
Scotland Yard Spied on Grieving Families: secret surveillance after police victim shot seven times in head ’by mistake’
2014 07 24
More terror from the ’anti-terror’ brigade. Undercover police gathered evidence on 18 grieving families By Rob Evans and Vikram Dodd | The Guardian Undercover police officers secretly gathered intelligence over two decades on 18 families fighting to get justice from the police, it was revealed on Thursday. The intelligence covering high-profile campaigns was collected between the mid-1980s and 2005, and affected grieving families ...
Air Algerie AH5017 with 116 onboard goes missing for hours, found crashed in Mali
2014 07 24
An Air Algerie flight carrying 110 passengers and six crew members has reportedly crashed in Mali after having disappeared from radar early on Thursday morning between Burkina Faso and Algeria. A French Ministry of Defense official told Fox News that the two French fighter jets located the wreckage of the plane, which had crashed in Mali. An airport official additionally confirmed ...
More News »