Saturday, 10 December 2011

Woolly Mammoth to be Brought Back to Life From Cloned Bone Marrow 'within five years'

Scientists believe it may be possible to clone a woolly mammoth within five years after finding well-preserved bone marrow in a thigh bone recovered from permafrost soil in Siberia.

Teams from Russia's Sakha Republic's mammoth museum and Japan's Kinki University will launch fully-fledged joint research next year aiming to recreate the giant mammal, Japan's Kyodo News reported from Yakutsk, Russia.

By replacing the nuclei of egg cells from an elephant with those taken from the mammoth's marrow cells, embryos with mammoth DNA can be produced, Kyodo said, citing the researchers.

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, December 10th, 2011.]


steven andresen said...


It's my understanding that humans have bacteria in their gut that are essential for the digestion process to occur. If not for these bacteria, people would be sick and be malnourished.

Suppose they bring back these mammoths. I wonder whether these mammoths would need certain bacteria in their guts for them to benefit from their eating. What makes us think that there are any of those mammoth bacterias left around that would repopulate mammoths?

Just because we have DNA and can reproduce an organism from a petri dish doesn't mean we have made a viable organism that could live on after we pry it out of the dish.

Suppose alen life forms found some human cells on one of our deep space probes. Would we think that they were justified in making humans out of those cells in one of their petri dishes. Suppose we knew that such a process could grow a human but without the bacterias and other environmental influences that the Earth provides we would expect such a creature to not survive. In fact, we might be able to predict that such a creature would suffer because they could not be adequately nourished. And, maybe we could predict calamities in their immune system, or their brains... Wouldn't such a process of discovery really amount to torture?

Isn't this what these scientists are going to be doing to these mammoths?

Spookypunkos said...


I'm not sure exactly how successful this cloning will be.

It is possible that the Mammoth will not be too different from the elephant surrogate and that there will not be any problems with its physiological development.

There might be problems regarding its post birth development but the animal should survive okay with the help of zoologists and the elephants it may live with.

If we get a Mammoth there might be clues as to why these creatures died out. I suspect that they died because of hunting activity by the human population and/or a disease. I don't think changes in environment by itself would be enough.

I agree that there are moral questions about bringing back the creature if it was going to face hardships, but I tend to think that, if properly cloned, the animal will live fairly well, as well as zoo kept creatures can be.

I'd feel sorry for it if it was the only one of its type brought back to life. Of course if the experiment proved to be overly cruel and caused a lot of trouble then I would suspend further efforts like this until we can better assess what the heck we are doing.

I posted this because having a real live Mammoth, albeit outside of its social group, might provide a window on the past Earth and what happened to all the Mega Fauna.