Woolly mammoth return possible

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Woolly mammoth return possible

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/HealthScience/Woolly_mammoth_return_possible/articleshow/2150587.cms

Woolly mammoth return possible
26 Jun, 2007 l 1542 hrs ISTlANI
WASHINGTON: Freddie Flintstone and his friends in Bedrock won't be the only persons to see a woolly mammoth alive, if researchers have their way.

Palaeontologists are piecing together the complete genome species of long-dead species such as the woolly mammoth and the Neanderthals in an effort to bring them back to life, much like billionaire John Hammond resurrected the extinct dinosaurs in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park.

A team led by Stephan Schuster and Webb Miller at Pennsylvania State University, US, and Tom Gilbert at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, is working on the genome of woolly mammoths preserved in the Siberian permafrost.

Scientists have already deciphered the complete gene sequences – or genomes – for many living species, including humans, dogs, and mice. However, they are divided over how they should do it in the case of long extinct species, and whether it's even feasible.

Max Planck researcher Svante Paabo, who together with colleagues, is aiming to assemble a Neanderthal genome from bones preserved in arid caves, in a paper appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) said only certain types of errors appeared in ancient DNA.

As such, its not that difficult to piece together much of the original genetic instructions.

However, he is unsure whether the animals can be resurrected completely.

"Resurrecting these animals is for the most part science fiction," said Paabo.

"Retrieval of DNA from ancient specimens is relatively easy now," said Alan Cooper, of the University of Adelaide in Australia.

"I think it's definitely feasible to assemble these genomes. But it's going to be extremely hard work," National Geographic quoted Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, as saying.

According to Cooper, the basic problem is that living animals package their DNA with proteins that help it wind up into chromosomes. This packaging is crucial to making the DNA work properly, and this is something absent in these fossils.

Willerslev however, believes it is possible to bring back an extinct species like a mammoth only if an extremely well-preserved cell is found.

"That's extremely unlikely to happen, because all parts of a cell break down over time, even in mammoths that have been encased in ice since they died. But, researchers working on cloning have contacted me wanting to get a hold of mammoth tissue so they could try to clone a mammoth," he said.

According to Hendrick Poinar of McMaster University in Canada, "it's theoretically possible" to recreate a woolly mammoth.

"I think it's going to be done at some point. Once you have the genome of a mammoth, you could compare it with the genome of its closest relative, the Asian elephant. Then you could genetically engineer the elephant DNA, point by point, so that it matches the mammoth DNA," he said.

"Then, by inserting this modified DNA into an elephant's egg cell, and implanting it in an elephant's womb, you could create a modified elephant that's nearly identical to the original mammoth. Or it could become possible to make entire chromosomes from scratch. I wouldn't be surprised if, in ten years, you'd be able to synthesize chromosome-length DNA," he said.

"Five years ago everybody was saying you'd never be able to sequence the genomes of extinct animals ... but here we are. We're not that far away now," he added.
 


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This is interesting, though

This is interesting, though I'm not sure it's a good idea.

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Vastet wrote: This is

Vastet wrote:
This is interesting, though I'm not sure it's a good idea.

I assume it would be possible, somewhat akin to cloning.

However, if memory serves me correctly, didn't the cloned animais have some defects?  Wasn't there something about a shorter life span due to some defect?

(I don't think we want to bring back prehistoric creatures if there's a possibility they might be really cranky.) 

I wonder, too, if this were easily done, would we start bypassing the ethics of trying to save our endangered species?

 

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Mmmmm.  I would love to

Mmmmm.  I would love to eat Mammoth.  I bet it is delicious.  That is the only reason I can think to bring back an animal that was selected against.

I bet they could be made in to burgers and steaks.  Ohhhh, I bet you could get ribs like at the beginning of the Flintstones and have your car turn over.

I hope they are able to clone all sorts of delicious, prehistoric species.

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Well, one of the reasons I'm

Well, one of the reasons I'm not sure how good an idea this is would be that recent studies have shown evidence that it wasn't man that killed them off, but inbreeding. Even repopulating the species would merely set them up for another extinction.

Plus, there's really nowhere for them to go. The hole their extinction made in the food chain has been filled by other species. And they've been extinct for so long we don't even know that if the bacterias they rely on for digestion amongst other things still exist.

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Vastet wrote: Well, one of

Vastet wrote:
Well, one of the reasons I'm not sure how good an idea this is would be that recent studies have shown evidence that it wasn't man that killed them off, but inbreeding. Even repopulating the species would merely set them up for another extinction. Plus, there's really nowhere for them to go. The hole their extinction made in the food chain has been filled by other species. And they've been extinct for so long we don't even know that if the bacterias they rely on for digestion amongst other things still exist.

 

Awwww. Com'on!  It would be a huge cash crop.  Not only would there be all sorts of mammoth food products, but their tusks and hair could be sold for all sorts of purposes.  Also, middle class families would pay to go to huge, boreal ranches where mammoths could be seen in their frigid habitat.  Hippies could camp out near the entrance and hold up signs to save this vanished, reborn and vanishing species.  This would help the bong and petuli markets and would reinvigorate the market for stupid Neil Young songs.

My God, it would be beautiful!  Some people would make their money in oil and others in mammoths. 

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No, we'd want to clone it

No, we'd want to clone it to study it. It would give us insight on the behavior and features of the wooly mammoth.  If we use this information with the sequenced genome, we can learn alot about mammoths.

 However, this article is extremely overoptimistic. We will never clone a mammoth or neanderthal. We would need an extremely well-preserved cell, and thats very difficult after hundreds of thousands of years of decay.


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Nero wrote: Vastet

Nero wrote:

Vastet wrote:
Well, one of the reasons I'm not sure how good an idea this is would be that recent studies have shown evidence that it wasn't man that killed them off, but inbreeding. Even repopulating the species would merely set them up for another extinction. Plus, there's really nowhere for them to go. The hole their extinction made in the food chain has been filled by other species. And they've been extinct for so long we don't even know that if the bacterias they rely on for digestion amongst other things still exist.

 

Awwww. Com'on!  It would be a huge cash crop.  Not only would there be all sorts of mammoth food products, but their tusks and hair could be sold for all sorts of purposes.  Also, middle class families would pay to go to huge, boreal ranches where mammoths could be seen in their frigid habitat.  Hippies could camp out near the entrance and hold up signs to save this vanished, reborn and vanishing species.  This would help the bong and petuli markets and would reinvigorate the market for stupid Neil Young songs.

My God, it would be beautiful!  Some people would make their money in oil and others in mammoths. 

I think Peta just added you to their "to assassinate" list. > >

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Quote: I think Peta just

Quote:
I think Peta just added you to their "to assassinate" list. > >

I've been a life long member of People for the Eating of Tasty Animals (PETA) and we don't even have a list! Tongue out  If we did the mammoth would definitly be added, it sounds delicious!


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Hours. It would only last a

Hours. It would only last a few hours.

The viruses have evolved since the time of the Mammoth. Not only encoding the dna in a new cell to clone would create one, but also encoding basic immune structures that have evolved over the past so many thousand years. It would have to be a 'bubble mammoth' and innoculation against even our extinct viruses would take tons of time, effor, and money.

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Vastet
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On a shorter time scale that

On a shorter time scale that may be an issue, but the chances are that virus' have evolved to be unable to infect mammoths in the first place, considering that they cannot sustain themselves by infecting them.

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