Skip to comments.Mammoth Blood Brought Back to Life with Ancient DNA
Posted on 05/10/2010 10:10:56 AM PDT by null and void
The structural model of the mammoth hemoglobin, with the three key changes to the protein highlighted in red. Illustration by Ansgar Philippsen
A team of international researchers has brought the primary component of mammoth blood back to life using ancient DNA preserved in bones from Siberian specimens 25,000 to 43,000 years old. Studies of recreated mammoth hemoglobin, published May 3, 2010, in Nature Genetics, reveal special evolutionary adaptations that allowed the mammoth to cool its extremities down in harsh Arctic conditions to minimize heat loss.
"It has been remarkable to bring a complex protein from an extinct species, such as the mammoth, back to life," says Alan Cooper, Director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) at the University of Adelaide, where the mammoth hemoglobin sequences were determined. "This is true paleobiology, as we can study and measure how these animals functioned as if they were alive today."
Cooper is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and a member of the University's Environment Institute.
"We've managed to uncover physiological attributes of an animal that hasn't existed for thousands of years," says team leader Kevin Campbell of the University of Manitoba, Canada. "Our approach opens the way to studying the biomolecular and physiological characteristics of extinct species, even for features that leave no trace in the fossil record."
The project began over seven years ago when Campbell contacted Cooper, who was then based at the University of Oxford, to suggest resurrecting mammoth hemoglobin.
"At the time, I thought 'what a great idea' but it's never going to work," says Cooper. "Still, bringing an extinct protein back to life is such an important concept, we've got to try it."
The team converted the mammoth hemoglobin DNA sequences into RNA, and inserted them into modern-day E. coli bacteria, which then manufactured the authentic mammoth protein.
"The resulting hemoglobin molecules are no different than 'going back in time' and taking a blood sample from a real mammoth," says Professor Campbell.
The team used modern scientific physiological tests and chemical modeling to characterize the biochemical properties that confer mammoths with physiological cold tolerance. Team member Roy Weber of the University of Aarhus, Denmark, who performed the physiological testing on the mammoth proteins, says the findings help show how the mammoth survived the extreme Arctic cold.
"Three highly unusual changes in the protein sequence allowed the mammoth's blood to deliver oxygen to cells even at very low temperatures, something that indicates adaptation to the Arctic environment," Weber says.
"We can now apply similar approaches to other extinct species, such as Australian marsupials," says team member Jeremy Austin, ACAD Deputy Director, who is currently using ancient DNA to study the evolution of the extinct thylacine and the endangered Tasmanian Devil.
One day we might even see these creatures walk the Earth again. Of course proving creationism and evolution at the same time.
BTW — something everyone seems to forget — Darwin's Theory of Evolution says nothing whatsoever about the beginnings of life (just speciation).
I already saw that movie.
“inserted them into modern-day E. coli bacteria”
That’s kind of a cr@ppy method to use!
Ah, yes. “Jurassic Pork.”
Oh thank goodness ... Now the Flintstones can get that new Dishwasher.
If they can produce mammoth blood or hemoglobin they can give transfusions to cloned mammoths that are shot by mid-western farmers trying to save their crops.
Mammoths, cave bears and triceatrops, oh my! What a wonderful world it will be.
Great, if my mammoth needs a transfusion I know where to take it!
Wouldn’t this make it possible to pursue cloning?
It’s strange to read this article with cloning not being mentioned at all. Perhaps the reason is the answer to my question, but what is described here seems to indicated the possibility.
One obvious thing I neglected to mention, is the timing of this. We’ve got Obama and the communist movement in the United States trying to take us back about one century. What better time to go back even farther?
It would be entirely fitting to have mammoths walking around, as we install a tried and failed economic system in the United States.
God made a decision that these creatures were not compatible with the human race sharing the same planet. God created the scenario whereby they were destroyed; He had His reasons.
If scientist continue to mess with God’s design, God will make another decision to reveal who is boss. Creating extinction scenarios is easy for God and if Man doesn’t knock it off, those scenarios will play out soon.
Thanks. And that being the case, this is very interesting news.
If He had planned ahead He wouldn’t have created them in the first place would He?
BTW something everyone seems to forget Darwin’s Theory of Evolution says nothing whatsoever about the beginnings of life (just speciation).
The origin of living species is a valid subject for science to investigate, but not the origin of what species are species of? That’s like studying inductance and capacitance without studying electricity.
Another absurd assertion of evolutionists.
Now I can understand how she opens her mouth that wide
Why would He do that? Either God gave man free-will or God is a dictator. Can't have it both ways.
If God is a dictator who wants man to obey His will, then why does He allow man to kill other men?
...hematology to the hematologists...
Do you think that the Russian peasents that found the occasional frozen wooly mammoth ever made a fur coat out of one?
What would that be worth?
It’s bad enough the fools have repopulated the black bear and wolf. Having to watch out for cave bears and saber tooths, or sitting down a tv show with one eye opened for a mad mammoth is just insane. “Honey, hand me the magnum, I’m going to check the Giant Moa coup...”
After reading on the dna extraction processes my first question is how can they be so confident that pristine dna as it exists in the cell is the result they are working with.
I totally agree with that.
Let’s clone millions of them, make them meaner than he@# and put them all along the southern border ... Sure, T-Rex’s would be better but that will come with time.
E. coli is used in almost all GMO pharming techniques, it’s used to carry it’s payload (usually genes) into the cell nucleus itself.
Totally agree! Imagine just having DNA being enough to bring back extinct life. wow.
I know that Scyth! I was making a, rather poor I guess, joke! I run a water company/public utility, and am quite aware of E. Coli. Test for it every month.
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That is entirely scary.
To PETA or the normal world? ;-)
I guess there might be a lot of DNA in that hair, but would that still be viable? The skin shouldn’t be should it?
I honestly don’t know. But it is mammoth food for thought.
I already saw that movie.