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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: Heard this before a few times. Hmmm.
By melgross on 1/16/2011 1:42:13 PM , Rating: 5
Your reasoning seems correct on the surface, but it really isn't. They've been cloning animals for a while now. It doesn't really matter if it is extinct or not, it's the process that matters. If they can get enough viable material to work with, they can do it. Modern sequencing can insure that they get millions of copies of the genetic material, so they will have plenty. The only question will be to see if they have everything they need, or rather as I brought up in an earlier post, they're just using some of the material, and not getting an actual clone.


RE: Heard this before a few times. Hmmm.
By jabber on 1/16/2011 6:24:45 PM , Rating: 3
Well this is it they can do sheep, recently extincts with full blood samples and such like till they are blue in the face but what I'm getting at is the intermediate steps between cloning current animals and going for the big one...dinosaurs.

Lets see some results from animals that have actual bone skeletons (with supposedly more viable DNA samples) sitting in labs and museums that died out in the past couple of hundred years.

If they could do that then I'd invest.

Bring back a dodo and I wouldnt consider dinosaur cloning a total scam. But they havent and thats the issue. Surely the novelty of the dodo would be newsworthy and worth the investment to prove the feasability? But no...nothing.

It seems its only Mammoths or T-Rex. Scam.


RE: Heard this before a few times. Hmmm.
By melgross on 1/16/2011 7:08:47 PM , Rating: 3
The difference with mammoths is that they have entire animals frozen in ice. Dried bone samples may not have complete enough samples. If it's been exposed to air, it may be eaten by bacteria. Heat or moisture could have "cooked" it. There are many things that happen to more recent specimens. The bones could have been put into chemicals to destroy the living material so the bones don't rot.

So far, mammoths are one of the best bets. In addition, there is the publicity value. Really, if they want to encourage interest for funding, how many people would really care about the Dodo, and how many would care about the mammoth?

They've been finding more dinosaur DNA than thought possible. But I'm not sure if they will ever get what they need for a true clone.


By jabber on 1/17/2011 6:35:28 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe, but I reckon we wont see it in our lifetimes.

Shame though.


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