Skip to comments.Mammoth plan for giant comeback
Posted on 12/20/2005 5:56:21 AM PST by Grendel9
The first serious possibility that the woolly mammoth, or something like it, could walk on Earth again was raised yesterday by an international team of scientists.
Woolly mammoths died out approximately 10,000 years ago A portion of the genetic code of the mammoth has been reconstructed and, to the surprise of scientists, the team that carried out the feat believes that it will be possible to decode the entire genetic make-up.
The tusked beast stood 12-feet tall, weighed up to seven tons and had a shaggy dark brown coat that hung from its belly.
DNA was extracted from a well-preserved 27,000-year-old specimen found in the Siberian permafrost. So far, about 30 million "letters" of the genetic code have been read, albeit in small pieces, representing around one percent of the entire code.
The team says it could take as little as a year to finish the estimated 2.8 billion-letter code that provides the genetic wherewithal to create the animal.
Scientists in Japan and Russia have announced plans to attempt to clone woolly mammoths with the help of living relatives and, despite scepticism that they will be successful, today's work will renew interest in the idea.
Dr Stephan Schuster of Pennsylvania State University, one of the team that announced the new work in the journal Science, said last night that it may also be possible to genetically alter an elephant to turn it into a mammoth.
The work is described by an international team of researchers, including one from Oxford University, who sequenced a chunk of ancient DNA belonging to the mammoth and "fellow travellers" from its remains, including bacteria, fungi, viruses and plants that lived at the same time as the mammoth.
The team extracted nuclear DNA from the mammoth's jawbone, concentrating it before it was amplified and sequenced by a relatively new technique called pyrosequencing.
The researchers say nearly half of the "metagenome" they sequenced belongs to the mammoth and is very similar to the African elephant.
The techniques produced an impressive amount of nuclear DNA, which is normally less prevalent than mitochondrial DNA - found in the "power packs" of cells and the usual target of such studies - and thought to be more difficult to extract from ancient remains.
Dr Hendrik Poinar, a molecular evolutionary geneticist at McMaster University, said: "To acquire the genome of an extinct species is a rare feat. With this level of genetic data we can begin to look at genes to determine what makes a mammoth a mammoth.
We can finally understand the subtle differences between a mammoth and its closest living relative, the Indian elephant. But more importantly our discovery means that recreating extinct hybrid animals is theoretically possible."
Woolly mammoths, which have become symbols of the Ice Age, died out 10,000 years ago.
Wouldn't this be Pliestocene(sp?) Park?......
would a patched roundball from a 50 caliber kentucky flintlock rifle be enough gun? Hmmm....maybe time to go up to a Brown Bess for roundball?
Well, its brown, so why not a Browning AR?........
Why would we want to do this? What can we possibly gain from playing God?
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but we already have some things very much like mammoths running around. We call them "elephants"
Yeah, but what kind of coats can you make out of 'em ?
hmmmm...maybe I should register the domain name "Mammoth Burger".....just in case.....
MMMmmmmm. Mammoth Steaks...
Besides, the thing would run for days after being hit with a .68 cal round ball.
Well, considering that, from all evidence available. . . we killed 'em off. . . isn't THAT also Playing God ??
Besides. . . . gives me a reason to buy a .454 Weatherby Express rifle. . .
You have no imagination.
You could at one time get a mammoth burger at Satterwhite's Restaurant in Goochland, VA. 1 1/2 pounds of beef...
"Don't call it a comeback...."