Now: Clever those Japanese, now they are one step closer to cloning a mammoth! I’ve written on this subject before, but this is a new step forward, and a neat one. Good news, I want to go mammoth hunting one day. Excerpt:
New findings indicate that the resurrection of mammoths is not a fantasy, a research team including members from Kindai University is saying, after cell nuclei extracted from the 28,000-year-old remains of a woolly mammoth were discovered to retain some function.
When placed in the ova of mice, the nuclei developed to a state just before cellular division, according to a paper published Monday in the British journal Scientific Reports.
The team includes researchers from Japanese and Russian universities. It has been working for about 20 years on a project to use cloning to resurrect mammoths, an animal that has long been extinct.
The cell nuclei used in the team’s recent findings were extracted from musculature and other tissue from Yuka, an about 3.5-meter-long female woolly mammoth excavated nearly intact in 2010 from permafrost in Siberia. When inserted into mouse ova, five out of 43 nuclei were observed to develop to a point just before the nuclei would split in two as a result of cell division.
Now, this is still the longest of long shots, to be sure. But I’m excited at the prospect. And no, I don’t think this falls into the “just because we could, doesn’t mean we should” category. This isn’t a T-rex or a genetically engineered monster; it’s a mammoth, something that went extinct within the last few thousand years, something that co-existed with our species, something our ancestors occasionally laid their jaws on.
And jokes about mammoth hunting aside, it’s not like these critters will be turned out to fend for themselves in Alaska or Siberia. The recreated mammoths would be the most valuable, pampered, coddled, protected and cared for animals in the history of livestock.
But mammoths. Imagine that.