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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 2003, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Post Researchers Mull Cloning Mammoths

TOKYO (July 16) - Japanese scientists seeking to clone prehistoric wooly mammoths were preparing their first frozen DNA samples Tuesday in bid to bring the beasts back to life.

Remnants of what scientists think is from mammoth bone marrow, muscle and skin were unearthed last August in the Siberian tundra where they had been preserved in ice for thousands of years.

Researchers at the Gifu Science and Technology Center and Kinki University want to use the genetic material encased within the cells to clone a wooly mammoth, according to Akira Irytani, a scientist at Kinki University in western Japan.

But first, they must determine whether the five specimens brought from Russia on Tuesday are really from mammoths. If so, they must then decide whether the DNA locked inside is well enough preserved for cloning to proceed.

After that, it could take years to actually produce an animal.

``There are many different problems to overcome,'' the Gifu Center's Hideyoshi Ichibashi said. ``I think we can move ahead only one step at a time.''

Kinki University scientists, joined with veterinary experts from Kagoshima University in southern Japan, have searched for mammoth DNA samples since 1997 in Siberia.

Kinki University's Irytani was hopeful about the DNA samples, estimated at 20,000 years old, saying they had been well preserved well below zero.

07/15/03 22:29 EDT

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 2003, 12:16 AM
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I read about this idea a few years ago. In order to produce a clone, they will have to use modern Elephants as donors and surrogates. The resulting creature will not be a true Mammoth but a hybrid species (a Mammephant?) and it's therefore a pretty pointless exercise.
Animals already cloned have been found to suffer as a result of defects that have caused, amongst other things, organ failure, joint problems and premature ageing, so these huge beasts are going to suffer for the sake of the scientific curiosity.

To (miss?)quote Jeff Goldbloom in Jurasic Park:
"You did it because you could; without asking if you should."

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 2003, 12:59 AM
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Bring back the dodo! (no not that plane thingy on Grand Theft Auto 3).

Nah the only Wooly Mammoth memories we should have is of the Snuffleupagus (sp?) on Sesame Street.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 2003, 01:28 AM
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ColinB is right of course. It may be very difficult getting anything like a genuine mammoth, and there are all these problems with congenital defects from the cloning process. That is a reason to be cautious.

All the same, I'm not that worried about the need to use elephants. It depends on exactly what they have to use them for. If we really could get complete mammoth nuclear DNA, I don't care about the tiny contribution of mitochondrial DNA from an elephant. As for the congenital defects.... Well, yes, true. But that whole issue is still under investigation. It looks right now as if the problem is worse than originally believed, but the situation may seem different a few years down the track.

I say that we should proceed cautiously with all this cloning research but not necessarily rule out cloning things like mammoths or thylacines a bit further down the track in the unlikely event that we can get good enough DNA. My feeling is that it will prove impossible to clone extinct species, but who knows.

Jurassic Park is not a good example to quote. Michael Crichton had to create an action packed story, so of course everything went wrong, as happens in all his books and the movies based on them. I somehow doubt that the cloned mammoths would go berserk and kill people like Crichton's dinosaurs.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 2003, 01:43 AM
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Personally, I do not see the point. I do not see the point AT ALL. They would just die out in today's climate anyway. It would be such a waste of money, probably adding up to billions of pounds.

The cloning debate is one which will ring on for ages, it has its pros, it has its very concerning cons. I think trying to bring back Wolly Mammoths from the dead is a bit pointless... there are many other species who we should be worrying about going out of existence and be focusing on, rather than trying to bring an old creature back for something that I belive would be no more than a bloody expensive and unnecessary publicity stunt.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 2003, 01:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jouissant

All the same, I'm not that worried about the need to use elephants. It depends on exactly what they have to use them for.
They would have to use Elephants as surrogate mothers, carrying, to term, an infant which will be much larger than one of their own species.
Quote:
Jurassic Park is not a good example to quote. Michael Crichton had to create an action packed story, so of course everything went wrong, as happens in all his books and the movies based on them. I somehow doubt that the cloned mammoths would go berserk and kill people like Crichton's dinosaurs.
The line I quoted comes way before things start to go wrong Raptor-wise. The character is questioning the morality of resurecting an extinct species.

Man, proud man, drest in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what hes most assured,
his glassy essence, like an angry ape, plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven,
as makes the angels weep.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 2003, 03:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin B
They would have to use Elephants as surrogate mothers, carrying, to term, an infant which will be much larger than one of their own species.
Yes, of course they would have to use elephants as surrogate mothers. My point was that this would have very little effect on the genuineness of the result being a mammoth. If we had complete nuclear DNA, the rest (the uterine environment, the mitochondrial DNA) would have only a marginal effect. Genetically, the thing would be a mammoth. It would look like a mammoth, test as a mammoth, leave behind the same kinds of remains as a mammoth.

It might not behave like mammoth's did in the Ice Age because we could not bring it up in its "proper" environment. But this is no different from any animal that is brought up in a zoo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin B
The line I quoted comes way before things start to go wrong Raptor-wise. The character is questioning the morality of resurecting an extinct species.
I realise that. But the reason it is set up as immoral in Crichton's work is the potential danger. If nothing went wrong, where would the immorality lie? We'd have all these neat dinosaurs and everyone would be happy.

Surely you're not suggesting that cloning an extinct species is immoral in itself, even if it can be done with no danger to us or the animals involved? That seems to be getting a bit mystical to me, I'm afraid.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 2003, 03:47 AM
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the past is the past, leave it the fuck alone. learn from it and embrace it but please

i dunno what i was gonna say here


....This is fucked up, fucked up....

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 2003, 03:47 AM
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hmm hit the reply button too soon


....This is fucked up, fucked up....

This is your blind spot, blind spot.
It should be obvious, but it's not.

You cannot kickstart a dead horse
You just crush yourself and walk away
I don't care what the future holds
Cause I'm right here in your arms today
With your fingers you can touch me

I'll be your black swan, black swan
I'm for spare parts, broken up.




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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 2003, 04:05 AM
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The wooly mammoths became extinct due to natural extinction. That's a part of evolution and we need to accept that. I think this is a bad idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyWinson3.0
Bring back the dodo!
However, with this I agree because we need to make an attempt to bring back at least some of those species we made extinct. Of course, one is the dodo. The closest genetic link to the dodo is the Nicobar pigeon (itself a threatened specie). So I think this is a plausible idea, and one that could be done. Of course really we need to master genetics and cloning first; something we haven't really been able to do yet.

I would die a happy man if I ever see a dodo bird walk the shores of the islands of Mauritius, again. Really...

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