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

Document Confirms British were Plotting to Invade Germay Before Germany Invaded Poland
2014 09 02
The declaration of war against Germany had nothing to do with Poland, and was in fact a brutal war of aggression launched for economic reasons against the peaceful German people. As you can see in Judea Declares War on Germany. From dailymail.co.uk: An early version of the ‘King’s Speech’ reveals Britain was preparing to declare war on Germany before Hitler invaded ...
Study Claims Cave Art Made by Neanderthals
2014 09 02
A series of lines scratched into rock in a cave near the southwestern tip of Europe could be proof that Neanderthals were more intelligent and creative than previously thought. The cross-hatched engravings inside Gorham’s Cave in Gibraltar are the first known examples of Neanderthal rock art, according to a team of scientists who studied the site. The find is significant because ...
EU Nanny State to Ban Toasters, Kettles & Hair Dryers!
2014 09 02
"Despite arctic sea ice growing by 43%, the EU nanny state is set to ban toasters, hair dryers and kettles in the name of preventing global warming."
Nigeria launches new biometric ID card - brought to you by Mastercard
2014 09 02
Yesterday afternoon, president Goodluck Jonathan became the first recipient of Nigeria’s new national eID card, in a ceremony at the presidential villa in the capital Abuja. The cards will be issued to 13 million Nigerians as part of a pilot project, with the ultimate aim of producing a national identity management system (NIMS). Nigeria’s NIMS is an ambitious attempt to consolidate ...
LA Times Now Describing Illegal Aliens As ’Informal Workers’ Who ’Labor Unofficially’
2014 09 02
Via Weasel Zippers, we learned the Los Angeles Times has a new term for illegal aliens in the work force: they’re “informal workers,” and that doesn’t mean they don’t arrive on the job in a tuxedo. Times reporter Tiffany Hsu (a "UC Berkeley grad") began her Saturday story with the new I-word (and illegal immigrants also “labored unofficially” in "gray employment"): Informal ...
More News »