Hidden Nook

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Monday, December 19, 2005



Could Science Resurrect The Mammoth?


[Media Source*]

(MSNBC) Scientists have mapped part of the genome of the woolly mammoth, a huge mammal that's been extinct for about 10,000 years. The breakthrough could lead to re-creating the creatures.

A team led by Hendrik Poinar at McMaster University unlocked secrets of the creature's nuclear DNA by working with a well-preserved 27,000-year-old specimen from Siberia. Colleagues at Penn State sequenced 1 percent of the genome in a few hours and say they expect to finish the whole genome in about a year if funding is provided.

Although scientists are currently far from able to breathe life into any creature today, prehistoric or modern, the ability to resequence the DNA of this ancient beast does open the possibility. If such a feat were possible in today's world, one would wonder where would man draw the line with resurrecting certain animals, especially dangerous ones as such feat may destabilize current ecosystems. (imagine Raptures in the woods of North America).

But it seems that some scientists may have an alternative towards resurrecting these ancient creatures by recreating them inside similar ones.


Hendrik Poinar, a geneticist with McMaster University, has sequenced a portion of the genome from a woolly mammoth. Poinar is pictured with the remains of Dima, a baby woolly mammoth unearthed in 1977.

(MSNBC) Other researchers have expressed a desire to revive the mammoth by injecting frozen sperm DNA — if they can find some — into elephants. Over several generations, they'd create a creature that's 88 percent mammoth.

The DNA revealed by Poinar's group is "very similar to the African elephant genome," the group writes in their journal paper.

Although bringing back extinct animals may appeal to the masses, one must remember that in doing so (regardless of the means how) may have its severe consequences. One only has to reflect on the movie Jurassic Park to imagine a creature escaping outside of its habitat and causing havoc towards whatever human populace it encounters. Science, although giving humanity the ability to alter creation around them must be used productively, otherwise we may bring back a species that could lead towards our own mass extinction.




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By Darnell Clayton • 10:56 PM • Email Post • •

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