Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Woolly Mammoth Cloned by 2017?

From PopSci Online Magazine, written by Rebecca Boyle: First a plant from the past sprouted new life — now researchers in Russia and South Korea are moving forward with a plan to resurrect the Ice Age woolly mammoth. Scientists in both countries inked a deal Tuesday to share technology and research that could lead to the birth of a mammoth clone, gestated in a surrogate Indian elephant mother.

Previously, paleobiologists were able to reproduce mammoth blood protein, and Japanese researchers want to resurrect the mammoth within five years. This new project will move forward if the Russian institution, the North-Eastern Federal University of the Sakha Republic, can ship its mammoth remains to the Koreans.

The scientists involved include Hwang Woo-Suk of South Korea's Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, who was embroiled in controversy after he was found to have faked some research into human stem cells. He created Snuppy, the world’s first cloned dog, in 2006. Chinese scientists will also be involved in this research, according to AFP.

The plan would work like previous cloning studies that successfully reproduced dogs, a cow, a cat, a pig, a wolf and coyotes. The nuclei of mammoth somatic cells would be implanted into the nuclei of donor elephant eggs, to produce elephant embryos with mammoth DNA. The embryos would then be implanted in elephant wombs, where they would gestate for 22 months. The team plans to use an Indian elephant for the cell nucleus transfer, according to AFP.

The mammoth protein study showed that we can actually learn a fair amount by working with these extinct creatures — the mammoth blood was found to contain an anti-freeze component that no one would have known about had we not recreated its blood. So who knows what we could learn from recreating the whole thing? Surely, nothing could go wrong here ... not at all ... right?

Read the magazine here: POPSCI

Alisha: Built in Anti-Freeze! How cool is that? Wow!!! Since all the talk began several years back, I knew I had to write a children's book about the big fuzzy beasts. So I did. I'm still following this news story closely and hope to one day see a big one of these creatures live. But do we really want to resurrect an extinct creature. Is it ethical? I want to see it happen but I know there is a lot of talk against it. What do you think?

Check out my kids' adventure tale here at Amazon: TUSK and here at Barnes & Noble: TUSK

TUSK BOOK BLURB: Two Ice Age kids are orphaned and left to survive alone in the wild after their parents are killed in a bear attack. Tusk and his sister, Flint, discover ancient cave paintings with a horrific warning and instructions on how to survive a deadly meteor headed their way. Tusk is a natural born leader and believes only he can warn others and lead the clans to the land bridge and the New World. Flint has secrets of her own and a plan with a woolly mammoth to unite the animal kingdom before their world is blown away.

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