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Biotech Japan Science

South Korean Scientists Prepare To Clone Wooly Mammoth 195

Posted by timothy
from the looking-forward-to-the-sweaters dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last year Russian researchers discovered a well-preserved mammoth thigh bone and announced plans to clone a mammoth from the bone marrow within — and they just signed a deal with South Korea's Sooam Biotech Research Foundation to bring the project to fruition. The Sooam scientists plan to implant the nucleus of a woolly mammoth cell into an elephant egg in order to to create a mammoth embryo, which would then be placed in an elephant womb. 'This will be a really tough job,' Soaam reasearcher Hwang In-Sung said, 'but we believe it is possible because our institute is good at cloning animals.'" Not to be confused with a similar mammoth effort at mammoth-cloning at Kyoto University.
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South Korean Scientists Prepare To Clone Wooly Mammoth

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  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @01:06AM (#39386925) Homepage Journal

    Knowing the Koreans they will be turning out a million units a year starting in 2014.

  • Arsenal (Score:4, Funny)

    by sixtyeight (844265) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @01:10AM (#39386947)

    Forget their nuclear capabilities. We now have a bigger problem.

    • You're right. It will be a problem of truly mammoth proportions.

      On a related note, it's generally North Korea (officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) that people are concerned about in terms of nuclear capabilities, not South Korea.

    • by ben4528 (2588219)

      Forget their nuclear capabilities. We now have a bigger problem.

      Don't confuse "South Koera" with the The "Communist North Koera" just yet, they are totally different countries!!!

      • Don't confuse "South Koera" with the The "Communist North Koera"

        Exactly, North Korea did succeed in cloning long ago.

      • Don't confuse "South Koera" with the The "Communist North Koera"

        And don't confuse either of them with the two Koreas.

    • by srussia (884021) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @03:47AM (#39387437)

      Forget their nuclear capabilities. We now have a bigger problem

      How long before the North deploys oliphants at the border to counter the mammoth threat?

  • After that, they'll start producing mini-mammoths - great as Service Animals.

    Transition to The Flintstones, 3% complete.

  • Tweak the hair-growth and tusk-growth genes on an Indian elephant and it will be close enough.

  • Giants (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2012 @01:21AM (#39386991)
    Next we'll need to genetically engineer giants to herd these mammoths...
    • Next we'll need to genetically engineer giants to herd these mammoths...

      No, before that we'll need to reverse global warming to make our climate habitable for them -- I feel sorry for the big shaggy beasts having to cope in today's environment. There's a reason Elephants don't have thick hair: The ice-age is over.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And what exactly do you think the mammoth ate? Snow and ice? How did the mommoth bodies get under the snow and ice? By digging through?

  • This is the advance we've been waiting for.... the one that will finally make kink-spring energy storage practical.

  • This can only end well.

  • So I'm thinking the poor thing is just going to get overheated, give up, and die like the rest of his kind did. Korean short ribs anyone?
    • by Teancum (67324)

      So I'm thinking the poor thing is just going to get overheated, give up, and die like the rest of his kind did.

      Explain how you have gained such amazing insight into how Mammoths became extinct? While there may be some theories on what happened, I don't think the fact that the climate warmed up at the end of the ice age is the only reason or factor to consider or even that these researchers have ignored the fact that Mammoths did thrive in a different climate than African elephants.

      • Actually, I think they became extinct because they were all eaten by a burgeoning post-Holocene human population. Although there was a subspecies population IIRC of miniature Mammoths that survived on an isolated island for couple thousand more years. They problem was they were too easy to kill and too slow to reproduce and lived in too small a habitable range in a protein-hungry human world. They weren't the only species to go down in this way -- lots of very large (and easily killed) mammals were wiped
        • by tomhath (637240)

          I think they became extinct because they were all eaten by a burgeoning post-Holocene human population.

          So they are good to eat. That makes the research worthwhile.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Until they figure out that mammoths are assholes and that there is another reason they are extinct.

  • ...Night At The Museum jokes....

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @01:44AM (#39387105)
    the elephant might go extinct like the rhino due to poachers. At least we'll have mammoths. >.>

    I guess the optimist would go,"If we have the tech to do it for mammoths, we can get back other extinct life forms."
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MightyMartian (840721)

      Like rational intelligent statesmen?

      • by Nemyst (1383049)

        Aren't those just mythical creatures? I don't think we've ever documented a specimen of that species.

    • by bazorg (911295)

      If the elephant goes extinct, what womb will be used to recreate them and their woolly cousins? hamsters'?

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @01:54AM (#39387143)

    I'm genuinely surprised nobody has yet to pose for an Insightful mod by quoting Jeff Goldblum.

    • by l0ungeb0y (442022)

      Mammoths can't fit through a Walk-In Refrigerator's doors, aren't carnivorous and who's going to say no to some good ol' Bedrock-Style BBQ Mammoth Ribs?

    • What am I working on? Uhh... I'm working on something that will change the world, and human life as we know it.
    • There's, uh, another example. See, here I am now, by myself, uh, talking to myself. That's... that's Chaos Theory.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)
      Can't remember the exact quote, but "Let's fly this alien spaceship into the mothership and use my Mac laptop to destroy their computers"?
    • by Sperbels (1008585)

      I'm genuinely surprised nobody has yet to pose for an Insightful mod by quoting Jeff Goldblum.

      If you mean the Jurassic Park quote about nature selecting dinosaurs for extinction, I'm not sure that totally works here since the most likely explanation for mammoth extinction is because humans ate them all when they moved into North America.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @01:56AM (#39387157)

    How well can an elephant's womb support an animal of a different species? Even human babies born to human mothers are in danger if something as simple as the mother's Rh factor is different than the baby's. Surely implanting an animal of one species into a completely different species will run into problems with rejection?

    • by physicsphairy (720718) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @02:55AM (#39387315) Homepage

      There's not really any way to know for sure without trying it. But there are a few reasons to be optimistic. We're talking genetically very similar animals (consider all the viable hybrids which occur naturally), and, when you think about it, the womb is a controlled environment. Once you have a highly evolved gestation system in place, selective pressure will tend to favor the existing system. (Look how similar embryos are, even across genetically distant species.)

      If it doesn't work, well, now you figure out where things went wrong and try again. Hopefully you at least have a new batch of cell nuclei to work with.

    • Well... things like Ligers and Tigons exist... if Lions and Tigers can mix, why not mammoths and elephants? They are just as close. (relatively speaking)

      Not to mention Mules (donkey + horse)

      Unless the comparison is different in this case?

      • Well... things like Ligers and Tigons exist... if Lions and Tigers can mix, why not mammoths and elephants? They are just as close. (relatively speaking)

        Not to mention Mules (donkey + horse)

        To say nothing of the even more obvious combination: Humans (Homo sapiens + Neanderthals).
        ... or, as I like to call them, Apes with Nukes.

    • because reviving old species might be the least valuable service. We can already combine material to get the egg we need who is to say that sometime down the road a fully artificial womb would not be viable and allow for replication of any specie?

  • by grasshoppa (657393) <{skennedy} {at} {tpno-co.org}> on Saturday March 17, 2012 @02:10AM (#39387205) Homepage

    I'm not sure how much I trust any scientist that thinks elephants are born out of eggs....

    ( I keed, I keed )

  • Sweet (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712)
    How much do they want for the first Wooly Mammoth steak?

    On an aside, fuck the rhino. If the countries that have them can't preserve them, the world doesn't deserve them. If Chinese men can only get it up by eating rhino horn and tiger dong, I hope they enjoy their limp penises in a couple of decades, because that's all they're going to have left.

  • ...soon to appear on PBS as a live-action show!

    (with narration by David Macaulay [wikipedia.org], natch)

  • ...will it blend?
  • by dltaylor (7510) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @07:46AM (#39388065)

    It will have elephant mitochondrial DNA, so it will be a Mammoth/elephant hybrid.

    If they want a "real" mammoth (short of finding a female with viable eggs), they're going to have to replace the mitochondria also (and, no, midichlorians won't work either, although you'd end up with a very forceful animal), and keeping the egg alive while doing that has never been done, AFAIK.

  • and all the other species that went extinct in the last 200 years? Do you think we could we could try again???

  • Viruses (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sqreater (895148) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @08:44AM (#39388291)
    Are they taking any precautions against the probability that the genome contains viral components just as ours does? If they cannot prove beforehand that no virus will start replicating from the Wolly Mammoth genome once they activate it, they should not be allowed to proceed.
    • by NIN1385 (760712)
      I wonder if this is how the infection that causes the zombie apocalypse will start, I know it has to start with some scientists doing shit they shouldn't be doing in the first place and bringing back an extinct species we have no need for sounds as good as any.
  • And who's responsible when a couple of these get out of lab, eh?

    I had enough trouble chasing down some goddamn superrats that escaped our lab. Finally fixed those smart little bastards by setting out chessboards with pawns made of poison cheese.

    But WTF do I use to lure a f**k*** woolly mammoth? Do I _want_ to lure a wooly mammoth?

  • Am I the only one wondering why the hell this is a real project? Do we really need this species back that bad that we are willing to genetically engineer one back into existence?
  • I know just the guy for the job: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYhT6FHEpwY [youtube.com]

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