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Evolved
PostPosted: 22-08-2002 20:55    Post subject: Scientists Hope to Recreate Mammoths Reply with quote

some Inuit hunters in Canada still think there are some still kicking around but just to be sure well make some in a test tube Wink

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=624&ncid=753&e=10&u=/ap/20020822/ap_on_sc/recreating_mammoths_1

Quote:
Scientists Hope to Recreate Mammoths
Thu Aug 22, 4:44 AM ET
By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Writer

A group of privately funded Japanese scientists has a mammoth project for Siberia — a safari park they hope might eventually feature a genetic hybrid of the extinct woolly mammals and modern-day elephants.



For several years, the researchers have conducted excavations in Siberia in hopes of finding a frozen specimen well enough preserved in the Siberian tundra for its DNA to be used to impregnate an elephant.

"If we can find a somatic (body) cell, or preferably a sperm cell, that is intact, we can recreate a mammoth," said Shoji Okutsu, a veterinary expert at Kagoshima University. "If everything goes successfully and we have baby mammoths, we don't want to keep them at a zoo. We want them to live in an environment as close as possible to where their ancestors once lived."

That is a big if — so far, no mammoth sperm or other cells bearing cloning-quality DNA has been found and there are no guarantees any ever will be.

Even so, the Mammoth Creation Project in 1996 won permission from Russia's Sakha region to use a 52-square-mile preserve near Duvannyi Yar in Siberia should they ever succeed.

The sanctuary won't likely be a big tourist attraction — the Siberian preserve is currently accessible only by helicopter, and is not open to the public.

But tigers, giant deer, moose and other Siberian animals believed to have coexisted with woolly mammoths are already there, said Mammoth Creation Society Chairman Kazutoshi Kobayashi.

Kobayashi is president of Field, a technology patenting business that has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars for the project over the past six years.

So far, veterinary experts from Kagoshima University in southern Japan, joined by genetic scientists at Kinki University in western Japan, have searched mainly along the Kolimaya River in western Siberia.

They have found mammoth fossils, including legs, buried under permafrost. But the DNA inside turned out to be damaged by time and climate changes, and was unusable.

The society sent a team of researchers to the area last year, and plans to do so again next summer, Kobayashi said. He said they did not go this month — August is the best time because of the weather — as they are still studying the data collected from their last trip.

Tetsuya Taga, the director of Institute of Molecular Embryology and Genetics at Kumamoto University who is not associated with the project, said sperm could theoretically be preserved well enough if they are frozen, but that finding such high-quality specimens would be difficult.

"If the sperm is in the ice, it was under stress and may have been damaged," he said. "But you cannot say it's impossible."

Even if mammoths can be reproduced, however, some experts doubt the plan's viability.

Mitsuko Masui, director of Yokohama Zoo, near Tokyo, said simply keeping a mammoth alive is a new challenge since little is known about the animals.

"You can't recreate the environment that the mammoths lived in. Can a mammoth really survive in today's environment?" Masui said. "I don't think they've deliberated that enough."

Establishing a breeding population could be even tougher, Masui said, citing problems zookeepers already have with such non-extinct species as pandas.

The researchers admit they have a long way to go — with the lack of usable DNA being the major obstacle for now.

But they say their idea is fairly straightforward — by using retrieved DNA from to impregnate an elephant, they could produce a half-elephant, half-mammoth offspring. Over several generations, a creature genetically close to the prehistoric one could be created.

"Some people may question the ethics of what we are trying to do, but all we want to do is to make our dream come true," Kobayashi said.


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Anonymous
PostPosted: 22-08-2002 23:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'll believe it when I see it. It looks as though some researchers are riding on the back of Jurassic Park to get their hands on a bit of funding. Mad Large swags of funding actually.

It's notable that there have been an increasing number of genetic researchers coming out against the Archer plan to clone a thylacine. They claim that the huge cost of the project can't be justified given the near certainty of failure.

In fact some people claim that if you put a fraction of the cloning budget into a proper search for living thylacines you'd have much more chance of success. And there'd even be money left over for habitat preservation after they were discovered! Smile
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Evolved
PostPosted: 23-08-2002 06:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

The difference between this case and the thylacine case is that there is much more abundance of Mammoth DNA than Thylacine. There are frozen mammoths discovered where as we only have a pickled baby thylacine over 100 years old to play around with, that and the fact that there isnt really anything closely related or resembling the thylacine that can be used to carry the cloned pup whereas the scientists doing the mammoth research can use an Elephant which closely resembles and is closely related to a mammoth.

You’re probably right about the Archer plan to clone the thylacine, but I guess it’s his money and he can do what he wants with it. He obviously doesn’t think that this creature is still around in Tasmania or im sure hed put his money to better use but still you have got to admire the guy for his passion to give life to a magnificent creature that was taken away by our own ignorance for nature and greed for land.
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 23-08-2002 11:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's true, Evie, that there are better potential surrogate mothers available for cloned mammoths than cloned thyalcines, but the consensus among researchers seems to be that talk of cloning any extinct animal is too premature at present. In addition, there tends to be a limited amount of funding around to support research in general, and there must surely be better alternative uses for what is available.

Still, it takes massive efforts to shake any sort of funding loose, so even if the ultimate aim of the research is a bit iffy, there may be sufficient spin-offs and increase in knowledge to warrant using the concept of cloning an extinct animal as a stalking horse.

We can live in hope anyhow. Wink
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 23-08-2002 13:54    Post subject: Scientists Hope to Recreate Mammoths Reply with quote

Scientists Hope to Recreate Mammoths
Thu Aug 22, 4:44 AM ET
By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Writer

A group of privately funded Japanese scientists has a mammoth project for Siberia — a safari park they hope might eventually feature a genetic hybrid of the extinct woolly mammals and modern-day elephants.

For several years, the researchers have conducted excavations in Siberia in hopes of finding a frozen specimen well enough preserved in the Siberian tundra for its DNA to be used to impregnate an elephant.

"If we can find a somatic (body) cell, or preferably a sperm cell, that is intact, we can recreate a mammoth," said Shoji Okutsu, a veterinary expert at Kagoshima University. "If everything goes successfully and we have baby mammoths, we don't want to keep them at a zoo. We want them to live in an environment as close as possible to where their ancestors once lived."

That is a big if — so far, no mammoth sperm or other cells bearing cloning-quality DNA has been found and there are no guarantees any ever will be.

Even so, the Mammoth Creation Project in 1996 won permission from Russia's Sakha region to use a 52-square-mile preserve near Duvannyi Yar in Siberia should they ever succeed.

The sanctuary won't likely be a big tourist attraction — the Siberian preserve is currently accessible only by helicopter, and is not open to the public.

But tigers, giant deer, moose and other Siberian animals believed to have coexisted with woolly mammoths are already there, said Mammoth Creation Society Chairman Kazutoshi Kobayashi.

Kobayashi is president of Field, a technology patenting business that has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars for the project over the past six years.

So far, veterinary experts from Kagoshima University in southern Japan, joined by genetic scientists at Kinki University in western Japan, have searched mainly along the Kolimaya River in western Siberia.

They have found mammoth fossils, including legs, buried under permafrost. But the DNA inside turned out to be damaged by time and climate changes, and was unusable.

The society sent a team of researchers to the area last year, and plans to do so again next summer, Kobayashi said. He said they did not go this month — August is the best time because of the weather — as they are still studying the data collected from their last trip.

Tetsuya Taga, the director of Institute of Molecular Embryology and Genetics at Kumamoto University who is not associated with the project, said sperm could theoretically be preserved well enough if they are frozen, but that finding such high-quality specimens would be difficult.

"If the sperm is in the ice, it was under stress and may have been damaged," he said. "But you cannot say it's impossible."

Even if mammoths can be reproduced, however, some experts doubt the plan's viability.

Mitsuko Masui, director of Yokohama Zoo, near Tokyo, said simply keeping a mammoth alive is a new challenge since little is known about the animals.

"You can't recreate the environment that the mammoths lived in. Can a mammoth really survive in today's environment?" Masui said. "I don't think they've deliberated that enough."

Establishing a breeding population could be even tougher, Masui said, citing problems zookeepers already have with such non-extinct species as pandas.

The researchers admit they have a long way to go — with the lack of usable DNA being the major obstacle for now.

But they say their idea is fairly straightforward — by using retrieved DNA from to impregnate an elephant, they could produce a half-elephant, half-mammoth offspring. Over several generations, a creature genetically close to the prehistoric one could be created.

"Some people may question the ethics of what we are trying to do, but all we want to do is to make our dream come true," Kobayashi said.

Jurrasic Park or what?
sakina
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minordragOffline
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PostPosted: 09-02-2003 03:02    Post subject: Cloned Mammoths Reply with quote

This story describes supposedly living Mammoth cells recovered in Russia, and Japanese scientists desire to clone the animal:

Quote:
"We consider these cells conditionally alive," says Vladimir Repin, who led the research team. "The inner structure of these cells is undamaged."

Japanese biologists hope to clone mammoths, and if the nuclei contain intact DNA then this could be possible.


The name of the site--betterhumans.com--is an immediate red flag, conjuring up images of that spooky Cloneaid chick and her rictus smile. Nonetheless, given the recent demise of the Mammoth and the condition in which some of the remains are found (a complete juvenile recovered in Russia ca. 1912, later eaten by pack dogs when it thawed), cloning is indeed a possibility.

Is it a good idea?
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 09-02-2003 03:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

A mammoth? Sure. Not like they're gunna open a theme park full of them and invite Jeff Goldbloom to visit.

But easier said than done. If we can't clone a Thylacine, why could we clone a mammoth?

I don't get the whole problem with cloning. Its just making identical twins. Well, that's what it will be doing when its perfected.

But designer babies (betterhumans.com- eek!) are something we shouldn't touch. And thats the natural step after cloning, right?
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 09-02-2003 03:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
But designer babies (betterhumans.com- eek!) are something we shouldn't touch. And thats the natural step after cloning, right?


countless post-modern books, movies and albums have told moral tales about this.
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intaglioreallyOffline
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PostPosted: 09-02-2003 12:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

wouldn't they be better trying to emulate the dwarf species of elephant that lived on some mediterranean island? I'd like a pet elephant
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minordragOffline
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PostPosted: 09-02-2003 13:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

They will have to use elephants as the mothers, and thus it will take generations (if ever) to get a "pure" Mammoth.
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sjwk0Offline
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PostPosted: 09-02-2003 13:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

intaglio wrote:

wouldn't they be better trying to emulate the dwarf species of elephant that lived on some mediterranean island? I'd like a pet elephant

Didn't the book version of Jurassic park talk about miniature elephants? I think ingen tried producing them before turning to dinosaurs, but they didn't work because they were too vicious.
(only fiction I know... Wink)

Steve.
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 09-02-2003 18:23    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, they were talking about making miniature pets... and one of the guys (Hammond? who was a major SOB in the book) was against making "fake", domesticized, miniature dinosaurs/whatever. And the other guy was like "uh, the dinosaurs you make aren't real anyway fool", and then everyone got eaten.

Oh and the mini elephant was the first clone Ingen had created. It was their "Dolly", I guess.
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rossba1Offline
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PostPosted: 10-02-2003 12:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think i can talk about this with a reasonable degree of authority as this is the field i work in.
Basically, it aint gonna happen.
The cells may look nice under a microscope but they will be knackered on a biochemical level. Dolly took over 300 attempts with perfect, self-replicating cells from a living animal. There are huge problems with things like methylation acetylation and all sorts of epigenetic factors- and thats just in living present-day cells. Cells thousands of years old have priblems with crosslinking of DNA strands, deamination of bases, non-programmed methylation, double strand breaks and all sorts of things. I work on DNA from samples of a similar age as the mammoth (and also from permafrost) and the best amplification you can get is under 1000bp. i.e. approx. 1/3000000 of the total genome.
It would be interesting to see what happens when they try it but i dont think they have a chance.
The miniature elephants of mediterannean (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) is even harder to get DNA from as the bones on the island are all at temps above freezing and this affects DNA preservation.
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minordragOffline
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PostPosted: 10-02-2003 13:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barndad,

WOW

and nice to see you again! Thanks for that.

Even if cloning were possible, what would be the point? The clones we know about are wretched creatures; ill and short-lived. Any cloned Mammoth would be half-elephant, and therefore unrepresentative.

And where would the fetus gestate? In a box?

Even if we could get a viable population (of inbred, mutated, freak Mammoths) where would we put them? We need the tundra for those new oil fields. Wink
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 10-02-2003 13:13    Post subject: Reply with quote

Piscez wrote:

A mammoth? Sure. Not like they're gunna open a theme park full of them and invite Jeff Goldbloom to visit.


Really?

http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/08/21/clone.mammoth/

Wink
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