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Biotech Science

Extinct Mammoth, Coming To a Zoo Near You 312

Techmeology writes "Professor Akira Iritani of Kyoto University plans to use recent developments in cloning technology to give life to the currently extinct woolly mammoth. Although earlier efforts in the 1990s were unsuccessful due to damage caused by extreme cold, Professor Iritani believes he can use a technique pioneered by Dr Wakayama (who successfully cloned a frozen mouse) to overcome this obstacle. This technique will enable Professor Iritani to identify viable cell nuclei, and transfer them to egg cells of an African elephant which will carry the mammoth for a 600 day pregnancy."
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Extinct Mammoth, Coming To a Zoo Near You

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  • before you do it (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Bizzeh ( 851225 ) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @08:35PM (#34893338) Homepage

    before the hundreds of comments saying that this is wrong and shouldnt happen show up... dont bother.... lighten up and have a drink

  • by AshtangiMan ( 684031 ) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @09:00PM (#34893482)
    A warning. Like refer madness was a warning.
  • by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @09:08PM (#34893532)


    We wiped them out once, we can do it again. If you're descended from genes too slow to outrun and outwit a woolly mammoth, how the fuck did you get here in the first place?

  • by WillDraven ( 760005 ) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @09:16PM (#34893586) Homepage

    If this was an insect or small animal that might escape and breed you could have a point, but we're talking about a MAMMOTH. I seriously doubt they're going to manage to sneak off and start breeding in the wild without anybody noticing.

  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @10:22PM (#34893918)

    This is a little different than insects or plants which invade non-native habitats. Insects, plants, small mammals, etc. all reproduce quickly, and can evade humans easily because of their small size. A few seeds fly around and suddenly there's an epidemic of kudzu, for instance.

    Mammoths are very, very large, as should be obvious by their name. They're not going to sneak aboard a cargo ship without being noticed, and then go hide in the wild somewhere and reproduce like rabbits. If anything, they probably have an even longer gestation time than elephants, which already have a ridiculously long gestation time (which is part of why they're going extinct; they can't reproduce fast enough to make up for human predation, even though it's been massively reduced in recent decades).

    I think the dangers here are non-existent. Elephants already have a very hard time in the wild; these things aren't going to get out and take over. Even if a couple of mammoths did manage to escape somehow (that'd be a massive security oversight wouldn't it?), it would be easy to find and recapture them within the 2 years or whatever it takes them to make a single baby mammoth. It'd be pretty hard to not notice a woolly mammoth running loose anywhere near humans. These animals are just going to be a curiosity, probably confined to zoos, and I think it's great that it might really happen.

    The danger is if this same technology is used to "resurrect" other, much smaller extinct species. What would happen, for instance, if they brought back some prehistoric insects that were alive when the dinosaurs were around? That really could have problems like what you're talking about, because insects (even large ones) grow and reproduce very, very quickly, but are small enough to escape human confinement pretty easily, and then be very hard to track down and exterminate once in the wild.

    Or what if they brought back the passenger pigeon, or the dodo bird?

  • Re:jaunty tune (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @10:38PM (#34894012)

    The book was a little different. The blame IMO was more on the way the rich old tycoon wanted to exploit the park for profit at any cost. The movie made him out to be a benevolent grandpa wanting to give every kiddie a stuffed sauropod.

  • by PatPending ( 953482 ) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @11:04PM (#34894150)
    Well, as long as they taste delicious, I, too, shall welcome them.
  • by srothroc ( 733160 ) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @11:59PM (#34894450) Homepage
    What about things from the mammoth? Just playing devil's advocate, here. What if it turns out that people or animals are terribly allergic to mammoth fur and it can travel on the wind? What about mosquitoes and pests -- how will it affect them, or the ones they bite after the mammoth?
  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @12:29AM (#34894606) Journal
    Well actually, yeah, our actions are all about humans. If we decide to preserve the ocean, it's because we like having a pristine natural ocean, and because we like having fish and whales around. There is no such thing as karma; the earth isn't alive and doesn't care.
  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Sunday January 16, 2011 @09:18AM (#34896228)

    What bacteria will come from this animal that haven't been around since they are extinct?

          Dude, the spontaneous creation theory for life went out of fashion around the time of Pasteur. The only bacteria this mammoth will possess are ones that are present in our world today. While the mammoth's own micro-environment will no doubt favor the growth of certain specific bacteria as part of its normal flora, it will be no more dangerous than turtles and chickens which carry Salmonella sp (responsible for typhoid, amongst other things), or armadillos which carry Yersenia pestis (responsible for bubonic plague aka black death).

    While having your back scratched regularly by an armadillo is not a good idea, the presence of the pathogen in the environment does not automatically mean epidemics. There are a couple cases of bubonic plague even in US every year, FYI.

The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine