Wooly Mammoth Clones a Possibility

Lauren Admire

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Aug 8, 2008
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Wooly Mammoth Clones a Possibility



The same scientists that cloned Dolly are contemplating cloning a wooly mammoth.

When scientists discovered preserved blood and muscle tissue [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/124439-Wooly-Mammoth-Blood-Found-in-Siberia] from a frozen baby wooly mammoth, the first question that came to mind was - can this be used to clone a wooly mammoth? The answer is: Eventually.

There are two potential ways to clone a wooly mammoth. The first is similar to the one used to clone Dolly, which involves transplanting a viable cell into an elephant embryo and hoping the momma elephant could carry the fetus to term. However, there are several hurdles in the way of that method. First, DNA degenerates quickly at the temperatures of melting ice and snow, where wooly mammoth remains are often found. "By the time you've got a bone sticking up in the sunshine, it's effectively too late. You need to get it straight out of the deep freeze, as it were," stem cell scientist Sir Ian Wilmut said. Further, the cloning process is highly inefficient and can require several thousand eggs. Considering the Asian elephant is in danger of becoming extinct itself, harvesting hundreds of health embryos from fertile females would be morally unconscionable. However - there is a workaround, and it involves the elephant's most loathed enemy: the mouse. Since the mechanisms that regulate ovary functions are similar across different mammals, elephant eggs could be transplanted into mice for initial insemination, and then transferred back into the elephant for gestation, and, hopefully, delivery.

The second method involves using proteins to transition a mammoth's adult cells back into stem cells, which could then be used to grow tissues in a laboratory. Studying the wooly mammoth tissue would allow scientists to study the beast on a cellular level - it might even provide some insight as to what caused its ultimate extinction. The stem cells could also be used to create egg or sperm gametes. If the cells are female, it could provide an alternative source of eggs for research. If the cells come from a male, it could be used to fertilize a mammoth embryo, or, injected into an elephant to create a new hybrid. Elemammo? Mammaphant? Wooly elephant? I can't decide which one I like best.

We probably won't be seeing a wooly mammoth clone any time soon, but with the refining of processes and procedures and perhaps a bit of luck, a Pleistocene Park might be in our future. But, even if we could clone a mammoth, should we? "Mammoths were very similar to elephants, we believe," molecular biologist, Professor Michael Hofreiter said. "In other words, they were highly social, intelligent creatures. What right have we got to recreate one or two and then keep them in solitary confinement at zoos or research facilities? I have problems with those who think this is not a real issue."

Source: The Guardian [http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/jul/31/clone-mammoth-ian-wilmut]

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-Dragmire-

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Mar 29, 2011
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Lauren Admire said:
However - there is a workaround, and it involves the elephant's most loathed enemy: the mouse. Since the mechanisms that regulate ovary functions are similar across different mammals, elephant eggs could be transplanted into mice for initial insemination, and then transferred back into the elephant for gestation, and, hopefully, delivery.
Holy shit, really!? That's incredible!

I don't really have a stance on the should we or shouldn't we side of things, I'm just surprised we got past the can we or can't we phase.
 

Yopaz

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Jun 3, 2009
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It's actually spelled woolly.

I'm not sure what I want to happen here. We don't really need woolly mammoths introduced in our ecosystem. Introducing species has proven to fuck things up time and time again, but still, this is fascinating and it could be a breakthrough in cloning technology. Now cloning is hard and working with such old DNA so I won't be holding my breath for any news on this.
 

Another

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Considering just moving a species from one part of the world to another can really screw an ecosystem, I don't think making more than one is a good idea. Although the scientific implications are fascinating!
 

Baresark

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I'm a fan of using cell de-differentiation if for no other reason then perfecting that particular method of cellular manipulation could do other amazing things like cure cancer. I would have to wonder how close to a Woolly Mammoth you would get with implantation into a elephant egg. I am not sure how X-deactivation works in elephant genomics. If it's like a Kangaroo, the fetus would automatically get all of it's X Chromosome traits from the Elephant. I also wonder if it would be affected by some form of hybrid disgenesis. Meh, either way, it's exciting stuff!
 

Agayek

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Oct 23, 2008
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Lauren Admire said:
We probably won't be seeing a wooly mammoth clone any time soon, but with the refining of processes and procedures and perhaps a bit of luck, a Pleistocene Park might be in our future. But, even if we could clone a mammoth, should we? "Mammoths were very similar to elephants, we believe," molecular biologist, Professor Michael Hofreiter said. "In other words, they were highly social, intelligent creatures. What right have we got to recreate one or two and then keep them in solitary confinement at zoos or research facilities? I have problems with those who think this is not a real issue."
Solution: Clone a whole herd!
 

Frezzato

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Oct 17, 2012
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Potential idiom of the future: There's more than one way to clone a Mammoth.
 

MammothBlade

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Oct 12, 2011
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I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, great, we could always do with more mammoths, on the other hand, I wouldn't be one of a kind anymore.
 

CriticalMiss

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Fuck yeah, mammoths! Like elephants but northern and therefore better. Plus they might taste nice. And if they managed to do it it would be a monumental achievement for cloning technology. It would give us some optimism that if we fuck up the planet some more and kill off a bunch of species that turn out (as they usually do) to be kind of important, we might be able to bring some back post-extinction if we have some DNA in a frozen ark somewhere.
 
Jul 31, 2013
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So, science, when will you guarantee me that I'll be able to order some mammoth steaks and dodo drumsticks for dinner? Because damn, they just look so tasty!!! (especially dodo's, I imagine that they're like walking KFC buckets)
 

Lawbringer

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"elephant eggs could be transplanted into mice for initial insemination, and then transferred back into the elephant for gestation, and, hopefully, delivery."
As long as they remember to take the mammoth baby out of the mouse before...before it's too late...
 

Lauren Admire

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Aug 8, 2008
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the first one will be shaved to create questionable tasteful sweaters to make a profit.
for more cloning and science stuff and no prostitutes whatsoever..



Oliver90909 said:
"elephant eggs could be transplanted into mice for initial insemination, and then transferred back into the elephant for gestation, and, hopefully, delivery."
As long as they remember to take the mammoth baby out of the mouse before...before it's too late...
...and a race of super intelligent woolly mice men take over the world!
 

Evil Smurf

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Nov 11, 2011
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I want mammoths roaming the earth again. make it happen science!
 

Blood Brain Barrier

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Another said:
Considering just moving a species from one part of the world to another can really screw an ecosystem, I don't think making more than one is a good idea. Although the scientific implications are fascinating!
Screw the scientific implications , I'm just looking forward to riding them around like this:

 

CrazyGirl17

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Sep 11, 2009
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I think it'd be better if we try to figure out all the details before we start cloning mammoths, but if we can get it done, that would be great! I'd love to see a real one up close...
 

Grabehn

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Ok, Yaay for science or whatever, but I've never been too much into the cloning thing. Sure, clone that one (or dozens) of species that humans extinguished, hopefully they won't kill them off again, but mammoths? I both don't see what good it would do to the animal, nor what benefit would be to humas, a massive creature that died out because of... reason.

Other than for that frequent "look what we can do" that these experiments often have, I just don't see a reason.
 

Frezzato

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It's odd to think of the potential ramifications if they manage to clone a Mammoth as the trade of Mammoth ivory is currently legal because they're extinct.
 

Lightknight

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Nov 26, 2008
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I'll point out that scientists have successfully turned male mouse stem cells into a fertile female egg. As stated in the article, since stem cells can be produced from other cells of the body this may be an interesting thing to utilize here.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/10/04/162263750/scientists-create-fertile-eggs-from-mouse-stem-cells

So a male sample could produce both resources though I imagine producing enough sperm gametes to successfully fertilize an egg would be a significant hurdle to jump.
 

immortalfrieza

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Grabehn said:
Ok, Yaay for science or whatever, but I've never been too much into the cloning thing. Sure, clone that one (or dozens) of species that humans extinguished, hopefully they won't kill them off again, but mammoths? I both don't see what good it would do to the animal, nor what benefit would be to humas, a massive creature that died out because of... reason.

Other than for that frequent "look what we can do" that these experiments often have, I just don't see a reason.
I think it's mostly so we can study them to find out why they died out.