Wooly Cloning

January 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Happy Friday everyone! I wanted to end the week on a little geek-out that I’ve been having for a few days, ever since I read this article about scientists in Japan that are working to clone and resurrect the wooly mammoth. I mean, I have been waiting for this to happen ever since the collision of two events in my life- my first viewing of Jurassic Park at the age of 11, closely followed by my learning that there were whole specimens of perfectly preserved mammoths (complete with VIABLE tissue!!) frozen in ice in the Siberian PermaFrost.

They plan to do this by inserting the nuclei of mammoth cells into an elephant’s egg cell from which the nuclei have been removed, to create an embryo containing mammoth genes.They will then insert the embryo into an elephant’s uterus, with the idea that the elephant would eventually give birth to a baby mammoth. Under the plan, they hope to accomplish this feat within the next five years or so. I found this part of the article explaining how research has led to processes to overcome past pitfalls in the DNA extraction process interesting as well:

The team, which has invited a Russian mammoth researcher and two US elephant experts to join the project, has established a technique to extract DNA from frozen cells, previously an obstacle to cloning attempts because of the damage cells sustained in the freezing process.

Another Japanese researcher, Teruhiko Wakayama of the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology, succeeded in 2008 in cloning a mouse from the cells of another that had been kept in temperatures similar to frozen ground for 16 years.

The scientists extracted a cell nucleus from an organ of a dead mouse and planted it into the egg of another mouse which was alive, leading to the birth of the cloned mouse.

Based on Wakayama’s techniques, Iritani’s team devised a method to extract the nuclei of mammoth eggs without damaging them.

Via Discovery News

I mean, who wouldn’t love to see this guy in real life???


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