Mammoths

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Anonymous

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Scientists Hope to Recreate Mammoths

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 ;)

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=sto...u=/ap/20020822/ap_on_sc/recreating_mammoths_1

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

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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! :)
 
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Anonymous

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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

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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. ;)
 
A

Anonymous

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Scientists Hope to Recreate Mammoths

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
 

minordrag

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Cloned Mammoths

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

"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?
 
A

Anonymous

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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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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.
 

intaglio

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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
 

minordrag

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They will have to use elephants as the mothers, and thus it will take generations (if ever) to get a "pure" Mammoth.
 

sjwk0

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intaglio said:
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... ;))

Steve.
 
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Anonymous

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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.
 

rossba1

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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.
 

minordrag

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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. ;)
 
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Anonymous

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off his head again

originally posted by Piscez

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

countless post-modern books, movies and albums have told moral tales about this.
yes, but postmodernism may be a brief cultural fad- and the potential for improvements to the human genome may be appreciated...
improvements like...
increased intelligence and longer life - even immortality
adaptations to allow people to live underwater or in space or in high gravity environments...
We may want to go down these roads, and as long as the genetic engineering technology is well modelled beforehand, the problems might be overcome in time.
Everyone throw their hands up and exclaim - eugenics and elitism!
and you may well be right. But if it is possible, it is likely to happen sooner or later, somewhere or other.
Of course- there will be a requirement for 'phenotypical correctness' - every biological entity should be treated as equally valuable-
(and the reconstructed mammoths are uplifted to intelligence and live in vast icy cities on Ganymede)
(and all the time the robots are laughing at us behind our backs)
 
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Anonymous

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Are you advocating immortality?
You realize how overpopulated we would get, really really quick like?
Until we can colonize other planets, immortality would be suicide.
 
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Piscez said:
Are you advocating immortality?
You realize how overpopulated we would get, really really quick like?
Until we can colonize other planets, immortality would be suicide.
Yes,
No, (1)
No. (2)


(1) Population growth is a symptom of poverty- a world full of immortals would have no economic imperative to keep having children.
just have one or two every ten thousand years- enough to make up for the loss to colonisation and uploading
(2) If population grew exponentially, soon the wave of colonisation would need to travel at many times the speed of light- and the centre of the colonisation sphere would die for lack of resources.
 
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Anonymous

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Well, there's no economic imperative to having kids right now (in developed industrial societies). Its just human nature.
When immortality is possible, we're not going to suddenly wisen up.

I don't buy immortality is possible anyway.
 
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Anonymous

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Piscez said:
When immortality is possible, we're not going to suddenly wisen up.

I don't buy immortality is possible anyway.
Well, you are probably right-
but if it were possible, the 'wisening up' and the immortality would have to be a kind of package deal- you can't have stupid immortals, really-
they would soon clog the place up with sprogs, as you suggest.
 
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Anonymous

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A couple of thousand years would do me (we love you, stem cells, oh yes, we do) but I suspect that, for as long as we are human, we will always be plagued by stupidity.
 

KeyserXSoze

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http://english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/377/10549_mammoth.html

Russian Mammoth to be Cloned
07/22/2003 14:54
Japanese scientists pin great hopes on cross-insemination
On July 15, a fragment of a mammoth body was delivered from Russia to Japan; the body will be used as a donor of genetic material for cloning and further revival of shaggy elephants from the glacial epoch, NEWSRu.com reports. The biological material in a container with liquid oxygen has been already transported from Tokyo's international airport of Narita to the Scientific Technical Center of the Gifu prefecture.

On July 16 the material was sent to the laboratory of the physical and engineering department of the Kinki University. This is the place where Siberian mammoth that disappeared several thousands of years ago will be cloned. The experiment will be conducted by Professor Akira Iritani, 72, expert in reproductive engineering. Fragments of a mammoth body applicable for the operation were discovered by a Russian-Japanese expedition near the city of Chokurdakh (Yakutia), 400 kilometers from the Polar Circle last August.

After the expedition, scientists brought some parts of the mammoth leg to Yakutsk. Further the fragments were studied by scientists from Vektor, the Novosibirsk Virology and Biotechnology Center. They managed to discover a cell in the biological material which suits for cloning of a mammoth.

Now researchers from the Kinki University plan to identify whether the fragment contains genetic material. If there is genetic material, an experiment will be held to create a mammoth's impregnated ovum which will be then implanted in a female elephant. Scientists say that even if the experiment is a success, it will take several decades of cross-inseminations to produce a thoroughbred mammoth.
:eek!!!!:
 

stu neville

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Can't help thinking they could divert at least some of the resources to looking for living relict mammoths in Siberia - not the Arctic region, but the heavily forested zone the size of Germany to the south (AFAIK mammoths never actually inhabited snowy wastes - not nearly enough for them to eat, and the remains that have been excavated have temperate grasses in their stomachs).
 

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Minor Drag said:
And where would the fetus gestate? In a box?

Nice to know I'm not the only one who likes Monty Python movies ;)
 

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Second British Mammoth Skull Discovered.

Although my last dinosaur fossil post was labelled 'un-newsworthy' some may think this of interest:

Complete mammoth skull unearthed

A complete mammoth skull has been unearthed in southern England, only the second to be found in Britain.
The specimen was discovered in a gravel pit in the Cotswolds and is estimated to be about 50,000 years old.

The only other complete specimen found in the UK is displayed in the Natural History Museum in London.

Scientists will attempt to date the mammoth skull using radiocarbon methods and will also use it to study the evolutionary history of mammoths.

The skull was found last week by Dr Neville Hollingworth, a palaeontologist who works at the Natural Environment Research Council. Dr Hollingworth's colleague, Mark O'Dell, helped him dig the specimen up.

'Amazing'

"It was beautifully preserved, almost as if it died yesterday," said Dr Hollingworth.

"It was quite amazing, we didn't expect to find anything like this. All I saw was a small piece of bone sticking out at the side of this clay face which had gravel in it.

"We started to dig and it got bigger and bigger and bigger. And after about 10 minutes of digging we realised that we had something a little bit more than just a bone fragment.

"Then seven hours later we uncovered a complete mammoth skull and it was just incredible."

Dr Adrian Lister, a mammoth expert from University College London, has carried out a preliminary analysis of the skull.

The mammoth was an elderly female between 25 and 40 years old, which probably weighed between four and five tonnes.

The tusks, which would have been up to 2.4m (eight feet) long, were missing from the skull and the experts now plan to look for these in the quarry, which is currently flooded due to rain.

The scientists were able to "age" the mammoth from its teeth. Mammoths get through six sets of teeth as they get older and these get bigger as they age.

Dr Hollingworth said he thought the excellent preservation of the skull suggested the mammoth could have died in a flood.

Comparing the new skull with the one on display in the Natural History Museum may give scientists information about the evolutionary history of this species.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3413773.stm

 

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Interesting stuff!! I am suprised it is only the second considering the number of Ipswichian hippo remains we have found in the UK - I'm sure there were large piles of mammoth and wooly rhino remains at La Cotte de St. Brelade in Jersey (pos. due to them being driven over the cliff by Neanderthals around 170-170 thousand years ago) or does that not count as it isn't the mainland?

Emps
 

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Emperor said:
(pos. due to them being driven over the cliff by Neanderthals around 170-170 thousand years ago)

Prehistoric joyriders? :D
 

Mighty_Emperor

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LOL - they should really look on top of the cliffs to see if there are any Stone Age 'donuts'. The animal remains at the bottom of the cliff had had their legs removed and they were up on piles of bricks before they were burnt out - I assume as the weather warmed and the Ice Ages ended they moved north and settled in Manchester ;)

~runs and hides~

Emps
 

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I apologise for being so cynical about the Dinosaura, I will confess they are not my favorite genera of prehistoric animal...

But why so few mammoth skulls? there are plenty of other bits and pieces around.
 

Yithian

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Emperor said:
The animal remains at the bottom of the cliff had had their legs removed and they were up on piles of bricks before they were burnt out

:rofl:
 
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