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43,000-Year-Old Woolly Mammoth Remains Offer Strong Chance of Cloning 187

Posted by Soulskill
from the looking-forward-to-mammoth-steak dept.
EwanPalmer sends a followup to a story from last year about a team of Siberian scientists who recovered an ancient wooly mammoth carcass. It was originally believed to be about 10,000 years old, but subsequent tests showed the animal died over 43,000 years ago. The scientists have been surprised by how well preserved the soft tissues were. They say it's in better shape than a human body buried for six months. "The tissue cut clearly shows blood vessels with strong walls. Inside the vessels there is haemolysed blood, where for the first time we have found erythrocytes. Muscle and adipose tissues are well preserved." The mammoth's intestines contain vegetation from its last meal, and they have the liver as well. The scientists are optimistic that they'll be able to find high quality DNA from the mammoth, and perhaps even living cells. They now say there's a "high chance" that data would allow them to clone the mammoth.
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43,000-Year-Old Woolly Mammoth Remains Offer Strong Chance of Cloning

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  • by qazsedcft (911254) on Friday March 14, 2014 @10:22AM (#46482395)
    It doesn't matter that the donor is dead. The process of cloning [wikipedia.org] involves taking out DNA and inserting it into another cell. All that matters is that enough DNA can be collected for a complete organism. Freezing is completely irrelevant as even human embryos used for in-vitro fertilization are routinely frozen.
  • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Friday March 14, 2014 @11:07AM (#46482915)

    If mammoths were wiped out by climate change, then resurrecting the species in a modern climate would be bringing it into an environment that it was not evolved to handle.

    Not only does that seem rather pointless, but it also strikes me as arguably sounding like animal cruelty. I'd suggest that the scientific discoveries we might make by doing this may be heavily outweighed by the ethical considerations involved.

    This matter really feels one of those times when scientists should be reminding themselves that just because we *CAN* do something does not necessarily mean that we *SHOULD*.

    Mammoths survived until at least 2500 years ago on Wrangel island where that particular population was probably wiped out by modern humans so at least the habitat question is a non issue.

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