Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cloning the Mammoth

We live in an age of scientific wonders. Not long ago I read about some scientists that were going to try cloning the Mammoth. The mammoth is a prehistoric elephant with enormous tusks. The genetic code or genome of the mammoth was published in the journal, Nature, in 2008. Scientists extracted DNA from fossil mammoth bones and were able to obtain genetic sequences particular for that animal. The genome is a blueprint for an organism; the chromosomes can contain a million base pair sequences. The fragments which were extracted from the mammoth bones were about 200 base pairs long. That may not seem like much where a million is concerned but considering the age and the sample they had to work with, it seems like an amazing feat to me.

The way they planned the cloning was that they were going to obtain an egg cell from an elephant and replace the elephant embryo with mammoth DNA embryo. Now granted, some of this should probably be taken with grain of salt, because the South Korean scientist (Hwang) saying this was found out to be lying about cloning a human from stem cells not too long ago. The same scientists though have actually already cloned the cat,  dog, pig, cow and a wolf. Do you think they could really clone the Mammoth? Should we even think of cloning a mammoth? Where would it live? Could it live? Interesting to think about.

To learn a bit more about cloning check out this genetics page from the University of Utah:

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