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Woolly Mammoth  (Source:
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 1/16/2011 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
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?
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 are we NOT part of, as is always the case, is most likely in the middle.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

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