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Woolly Mammoth  (Source: blog.devonanddorsetcottages.co.uk)
A researcher from Japan plans to use a new cloning technique to make this happen

If you thought "Jurassic Park" and the large, reconstructed skeletons seen in museums were the closest we'd ever come to seeing extinct creatures come to life, you might want to think again.  

Akira Iritani, a professor at Kyoto University in Japan, is looking to resurrect the woolly mammoth now that a new cloning technique can make it possible. Not only is it possible, but the woolly mammoth could also be reborn as soon as four years from now.  

The woolly mammoth, which is an extinct species of mammoth that died out 5,000 years ago, has been difficult to clone up until now because nuclei in cells found in the muscle tissue and skin of woolly mammoth's located in the Siberian permafrost were severely damaged by the cold. Many attempts in the 1990's failed because of this. 

In 2008, Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama from the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology developed a cloning technique that allowed him to use the cells of a mouse that was frozen for 16 years to clone a new mouse. This technique has paved the way for new clone-related opportunities, and has inspired Iritani to resurrect the woolly mammoth.  

Iritani plans to use this technique to pinpoint healthy nuclei within mammoth cells in order to extract and use them for cloning.  

"Now that the technical problems have been overcome, all we need is a good sample of soft tissue from a frozen mammoth," said Iritani. 

To obtain the nuclei, Iritani will travel to Siberia this summer to find samples of mammoth tissue or skin within the permafrost. If he is unable to locate these samples, he plans to ask Russian scientists for samples that they have recovered. 

Once Iritani obtains the nuclei, he will insert it into an African elephant's egg cells. The African elephant will be the surrogate mother of the new mammoth. 

"The success rate in the cloning of cattle was poor until recently, but now stands at about 30 percent," said Iritani. "I think we have a reasonable chance of success and a healthy mammoth could be born in four or five years."

Iritani said the process would take at least four years because it will be about two years before the elephant can be impregnated, and then a 600-day gestation period is needed. 



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RE: Extinction
By Camikazi on 1/15/2011 11:20:04 PM , Rating: 4
You know extinction is kind of needed right? If no species go extinct and all lived together then there would not be enough land and food for all. Species go extinct cause they can't compete or can't adapt fast enough. Even the ones that go extinct cause of us, it's the same they could not adapt. Certain animals could adapt to the rapid overtaking of the earth that the humans went through and are doing well, others not so much, extinction happens and is needed.


RE: Extinction
By Darkefire on 1/16/2011 2:53:32 AM , Rating: 3
Humans did kind of throw a monkey wrench into the normal course of events, though. We've developed so rapidly and so dynamically that we can go to any square inch of land on this planet, bring just about whatever we want along for the ride and frequently kill things just for the hell of it. The only species we can't eradicate either by choice or accidentally are the ones that reproduce at an extraordinary rate (rabbits, insects, etc.), which can skew an ecosystem far enough out of whack that it no longer becomes self-sustaining. I'm not saying this is cause for bringing back extinct species, just that using the "natural selection" excuse for why you hunted said species to that point isn't a particularly valid one.


RE: Extinction
By chris2618 on 1/16/2011 6:31:38 AM , Rating: 4
"I'm not saying this is cause for bringing back extinct species, just that using the "natural selection" excuse for why you hunted said species to that point isn't a particularly valid one."

Well as we are part of nature then it is natural selection.


RE: Extinction
By mindless1 on 1/16/2011 11:28:21 PM , Rating: 2
Not really, natural selection is a human construct that places us outside the definition of nature, otherwise "nature" would mean "everything", would undermine the meaning of the word entirely.


RE: Extinction
By chris2618 on 1/17/2011 4:33:15 AM , Rating: 2
What do you mean by undermined?

I think people have to realise that we are as big part of nature as any other animal but for some reason just because we think we are special and we remove ourselves.



RE: Extinction
By Murst on 1/18/2011 3:56:16 PM , Rating: 3
Just because humans are part of nature, it doesn't mean that anything we do or don't do can be considered natural selection. If we decide to use up our nukes tomorrow and kill everything bigger than 1cm in size, it isn't natural selection.

Natural selection is more about statistics & trends than single events caused by any organism.


RE: Extinction
By tim851 on 1/17/2011 2:47:56 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well as we are part of nature then it is natural selection.


By that definition, war is just natural selection too.

There are people who argue that way, but I find it quite disturbing. It takes morality out of the picture and reverts us back to 'might is right'.


RE: Extinction
By chris2618 on 1/17/2011 4:42:10 AM , Rating: 2
you may not like it but war is natural selection.

The problem with morals is they are not absolute and as some people seem it morals permissible to do harm to prevent harm then we may be "quite disturbing animals".


RE: Extinction
By tim851 on 1/18/2011 1:35:45 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
you may not like it but war is natural selection.


It is not.

No variation of genes is gonna affect anybody survivability during a napalm attack.

War is not natural selection like the astroid that is said to have exterminated the dinosaurs wasn't natural selection.

If I shot you in the face I could just pretend "might is right", but as a human being I am capable to reflect on my actions in the context of morality.


RE: Extinction
By Camikazi on 1/16/2011 1:59:33 PM , Rating: 2
Actually natural selection does work since last I checked, destructive as we are, we are still part of nature. We might be a plague on this planet but we are still part of nature.


RE: Extinction
By Grabo on 1/16/2011 5:36:24 PM , Rating: 3
Even if most scientists agreed that every species we cause to go extinct is a part of natural selection, which I'm not so sure is the case(but please link somewhere convincing if you feel like it), we are so radically different from other animals on this planet that just saying "it's natural selection" is kind of one-dimensional.

We have rational thought, we have a choice, we have an imagination. We have powers no other animal here has, and with that comes responsibility.

As for the case of bringing back extinct species - why not? If us making other species go extinct at a fairly rapid pace is indeed natural selection then us bringing back things long dead is also.

Not to mention the idea appeals a lot to the 'let's tinker with this and see what we can do'-sense.


RE: Extinction
By tim851 on 1/17/2011 3:02:39 AM , Rating: 3
We are not part of nature anymore.

When we started to consciously take command over (parts of) it, we transcended it and its laws.

We are no longer subject to any threat from the animal kingdom (as a species) and since we've been growing food ourselves, there's no population control at all.

We exterminated a population of American Bisons from well over 100 million to basically nothing in a hundred years. There was never any chance for them to adapt or avoid that.

Without a conscious effort based on the recognition of that, the Whales would have suffered the exact same fate.

Our impact on this planet has got nothing to do with 'natural' anymore.


RE: Extinction
By bah12 on 1/17/2011 12:12:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
When we started to consciously take command over (parts of) it, we transcended it and its laws.
So the monkey that can break open a nut with a rock is it no longer part of nature?
quote:
We are no longer subject to any threat from the animal kingdom (as a species) and since we've been growing food ourselves, there's no population control at all.
Of course we are, maybe not from lions and tigers and bears (oh my), but certainly the microbial kingdom is evolving to keep up and possibly threaten us like no other aspect of nature.

We certainly are a very odd evolutionary animal no doubt, but the fact is some species are thriving as a result of us even though we'd like them gone. Think of the feral pig issues in the US. They are a direct result of us, but still out of our immediate control. They have adapted and thrive in an environment we've created. Sure a wingless bird on an island doesn't do too well when we drop a few cats off, but there are examples on the other side of the coin that thrive as a direct result of us.

Is it pure natural selection...no...but are we NOT part of nature...no...truth, as is always the case, is most likely in the middle.


RE: Extinction
By Strunf on 1/17/2011 7:35:14 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think there are that many species that could survive if we decided to bring every single one down.

Earth would be pretty boring if there would be only us... and insects.


RE: Extinction
By Skywalker123 on 1/17/2011 6:19:37 PM , Rating: 1
Its hard for animals to adapt to a bullet in the head.


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