Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sequencing the nuclear genome of the extinct woolly mammoth

Nature Journal  - In 1994, two independent groups extracted DNA from several Pleistocene epoch mammoths and noted differences among individual specimens1,2. Subsequently, DNA sequences have been published for a number of extinct species.

However, such ancient DNA is often fragmented and damaged3, and studies to date have typically focused on short mitochondrial sequences, never yielding more than a fraction of a per cent of any nuclear genome. Read the whole abstract HERE.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Genesis 2.0 The Hunt for Mammoth Cells in Siberia

Genesis 2.0 - Trailer from Christian Frei on Vimeo.

The film observes the harsh and dangerous life of so-called mammoth hunters on the remote New Siberian Islands in the far north of Siberia. The archaic landscape in which these people are looking for the tusks of extinct mammoths looks like primordial earth.

There is a kind of gold rush fever in the air, because the prices for this white gold have never been so high. But the thawing permafrost unveils more than just precious ivory. Sometimes the hunters find an almost completely preserved mammoth carcass with fur, liquid blood and muscle tissue on which arctic foxes gnaw. For more information on the documentary go to:

From $100,000 Dog Clones To Resurrecting A Woolly Mammoth, A New Documentary Gives Stunning Details

Forbes - Jim Dobson - A group of Mammoth tusk hunters treks across the vast, cold and stark landscape of the small Siberian Lyakhovsky island. Some will not survive the journey while others will continue to make a living salvaging the enormous supply of tusks buried in the tundra and ice.

On one of their missions in 2013, the hunters make the remarkable discovery of a perfectly preserved Woolly Mammoth complete with still-fluid blood embedded in the permafrost, and the world may never be the same again. The hunters become unwitting players on the brink of the next technological revolution in genetics. Read the whole article HERE.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Chinese Scientists Have Restored Cells of the Woolly Mammoth --"Disappeared After Ice Age 4,000 Years Ago"

Chinese scientists claim they have restored the cells of the woolly mammoth that disappeared from the Earth some 4,000 years ago, with the only obstacle being a suitable surrogate.

Xu Xun, chief of BGI, a Chinese genomics institute, told news portal that there are three steps needed to bring back the mammoth. First you need to restore the animal's cells, then cell functionality to form embryonic cells, and finally find a surrogate body to carry the embryo.

Xu said that although China has already developed the embryonic cells, finding a surrogate to carry the embryo is a difficult task, as the surrogate is likely to reject the embryonic cells and kill them, reported.

Geneticist Professor George Church and his team at Harvard University have been working for the past two years to recreate the DNA blueprint of the woolly mammoth. His team believes they can recreate a mammoth-elephant hybrid, which would have all the recognizable features of a mammoth, the Telegraph reported Friday. Read the rest here.

Monday, August 29, 2016

'Initial stage' reached on dream of cloning woolly mammoth - expert

South Korean specialist hails opening of new World Mammoth Centre in Siberia, dedicated to bringing beast back to life.

Cloning guru Professor Hwang Woo-Suk did not go into details of the progress made in restoring the extinct species after several thousand years of extinction, but made clear he expected to publish new research in scientific journals as soon as 'checks' are complete.

Speaking in Yakutsk - Russia's mammoth capital which is to host a pioneering new international centre dedicated to the creature - the controversial South Korean scientist confirmed progress in bringing the animal back to life after cooperation between experts from the two countries.

'As a result of tireless joint efforts, we have achieved what we call the 'initial stage' on our way to recovering the mammoth,' he said, thanking Russian president Vladimir Putin for his support for research in this field. 'At this stage, thorough scientific checks are under way.

'Once they are completed, we will publish the results in scientific journals.'

Sunday, August 28, 2016

We could bring the woolly mammoth back to life, but should we?

New Atlas - While a real-life Jurassic Park may not be opening any time soon, bringing back more recently-extinct species, like the woolly mammoth or the dodo, is a distinct possibility. But while scientists in the movie "were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should," real-world scientists are now considering the latter.

With various "de-extinction" projects in the works right now, researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) have published a paper analyzing the ecological benefits, risks and responsibilities of reintroducing once-extinct species into modern ecosystems.

Scientists Hoped to Have Cloned a Living Woolly Mammoth by Now — Why Haven’t We?

Singularity Hub - Five years ago, we wrote about a team of Japanese scientists who predicted they would successfully clone a woolly mammoth within five years. So, why don't we have a living mammoth yet?

Even though the project has not been successful to date — the quest has continued. Here are a few of the milestones that have occurred since we published the story (in full below) about the project.

  • In 2013, a woolly mammoth carcass, nicknamed "Buttercup," was found well preserved in northern Siberia. The discovery sparked excitement among scientists and the media because Buttercup's body contained a "red fluid" thought to be blood. If an intact cell nucleus could be found in a red blood cell, scientists could insert it into an elephant egg and implant the egg into a surrogate elephant to bring the woolly mammoth-hybrid to term. In 2014, NBC reported that, unfortunately, scientists did not find any intact red blood cells.
  • While efforts to find the genetic material needed to clone a woolly mammoth from a preserved mammoth body continue, George Church believes that it's better to start with the elephant than the mammoth. Church and his team are using CRISPR to insert traits associated with woolly mammoths into Asian elephant DNA. As of 2015, Church and his team had introduced over a dozen changes to elephant DNA using genetic segments discovered in frozen mammoths. These include changing hair attributes, the shape of the ears, and subcutaneous fat.