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posted by martyb on Tuesday September 14, @10:37AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the big-deal dept.

Firm raises $15m to bring back woolly mammoth from extinction

Ten thousand years after woolly mammoths vanished from the face of the Earth, scientists are embarking on an ambitious project to bring the beasts back to the Arctic tundra. The prospect of recreating mammoths and returning them to the wild has been discussed – seriously at times – for more than a decade, but on Monday researchers announced fresh funding they believe could make their dream a reality.

The boost comes in the form of $15m (£11m) raised by the bioscience and genetics company Colossal, co-founded by Ben Lamm, a tech and software entrepreneur, and George Church, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School who has pioneered new approaches to gene editing.

The scientists have set their initial sights on creating an elephant-mammoth hybrid by making embryos in the laboratory that carry mammoth DNA. The starting point for the project involves taking skin cells from Asian elephants, which are threatened with extinction, and reprogramming them into more versatile stem cells that carry mammoth DNA. The particular genes that are responsible for mammoth hair, insulating fat layers and other cold climate adaptions are identified by comparing mammoth genomes extracted from animals recovered from the permafrost with those from the related Asian elephants. These embryos would then be carried to term in a surrogate mother or potentially in an artificial womb. If all goes to plan – and the hurdles are far from trivial – the researchers hope to have their first set of calves in six years.

[...] The project is framed as an effort to help conserve Asian elephants by equipping them with traits that allow them to thrive in vast stretches of the Arctic known as the mammoth steppe. But the scientists also believe introducing herds of elephant-mammoth hybrids to the Arctic tundra may help restore the degraded habitat and combat some of the impacts of the climate crisis. For example, by knocking down trees, the beasts might help to restore the former Arctic grasslands.

Pleistocene Park.

Also at NYT and CNBC.

Previously: Woolly Mammoth Genome Sequenced
Resurrection of the Woolly Mammoth Could Begin in Two Years
Analysis Supports Conservation of Existing Species Rather Than De-Extinction of Mammoths
Mammoth DNA Activates Briefly in Mouse Eggs


Original Submission

Related Stories

Woolly Mammoth Genome Sequenced 26 comments

An international team of scientists led by Dr. Love Dalén at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm has published [abstract] the complete genome sequences of two woolly mammoths. Their analysis found evidence of inbreeding among the final population of mammoths on Wrangel Island, as well as a genetic bottleneck around 300,000 years ago, before the arrival of modern humans in the region. Woolly mammoths went extinct around 4,000 years ago, and although Dr. Dalén's team is not attempting to revive the mammoth, they aren't dismissing the possibility:

Dr Love Dalén, at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, told BBC News that the first ever publication of the full DNA sequence of the mammoth could help those trying to bring the creature back to life.

"It would be a lot of fun (in principle) to see a living mammoth, to see how it behaves and how it moves," he said.
But he would rather his research was not used to this end.

"It seems to me that trying this out might lead to suffering for female elephants and that would not be ethically justifiable."

Dr Dalén and the international group of researchers he is collaborating with are not attempting to resurrect the mammoth. But the Long Now Foundation, an organisation based in San Francisco, claims that it is. Now, with the publication of the complete mammoth genome, it could be a step closer to achieving its aim. On its website, the foundation says its ultimate goal is "to produce new mammoths that are capable of repopulating the vast tracts of tundra and boreal forest in Eurasia and North America."

Resurrection of the Woolly Mammoth Could Begin in Two Years 20 comments

Scientists led by George Church claim that they are about two years away from beginning a de-extinction of the woolly mammoth. They aim to produce a hybrid mammoth-elephant embryo with many spliced-in mammoth traits:

The woolly mammoth vanished from the Earth 4,000 years ago, but now scientists say they are on the brink of resurrecting the ancient beast in a revised form, through an ambitious feat of genetic engineering.

Speaking ahead of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston this week, the scientist leading the "de-extinction" effort said the Harvard team is just two years away from creating a hybrid embryo, in which mammoth traits would be programmed into an Asian elephant. "Our aim is to produce a hybrid elephant-mammoth embryo," said Prof George Church. "Actually, it would be more like an elephant with a number of mammoth traits. We're not there yet, but it could happen in a couple of years."

The creature, sometimes referred to as a "mammophant", would be partly elephant, but with features such as small ears, subcutaneous fat, long shaggy hair and cold-adapted blood. The mammoth genes for these traits are spliced into the elephant DNA using the powerful gene-editing tool, Crispr. Until now, the team have stopped at the cell stage, but are now moving towards creating embryos – although, they said that it would be many years before any serious attempt at producing a living creature.

"We're working on ways to evaluate the impact of all these edits and basically trying to establish embryogenesis in the lab," said Church. Since starting the project in 2015 the researchers have increased the number of "edits" where mammoth DNA has been spliced into the elephant genome from 15 to 45. "We already know about ones to do with small ears, subcutaneous fat, hair and blood, but there are others that seem to be positively selected," he said.

Also at New Scientist and GenomeWeb.

Previously: Engineering the Perfect Baby
Woolly Mammoth Genome Sequenced
St. Paul Island Mammoths Died of Thirst 5,600 Years Ago
OBQ: [How Much] Should We Bioengineer Animals to Live in Our Damaged World?


Original Submission

Analysis Supports Conservation of Existing Species Rather Than De-Extinction of Mammoths 46 comments

Following recent talk of resurrecting the woolly mammoth, a new analysis has poured cold water on the idea of de-extinction efforts, recommending that funding go to conservation efforts instead:

Ten days ago, science news media outlets around the world reported that a Harvard University–led team was on the verge of resurrecting the wooly mammoth. Although many articles oversold the findings, the concept of de-extinction—bringing extinct animals back to life through genetic engineering—is beginning to move from the realm of science fiction to reality. Now, a new analysis of the economics suggests that our limited conservation funding would be better spent elsewhere.

"The conversation thus far has been focused on whether or not we can do this. Now, we are progressing toward the: 'Holy crap, we can—so should we?' phase," says Douglas McCauley, an ecologist at University of California, Santa Barbara, who was not involved in the study. "It is like we've just about put the last stiches in [Frankenstein's monster], and there is this moment of pause as we consider whether it is actually a good idea to flip the switch and electrify the thing to life."

[...] the results also show that if instead of focusing the money on de-extinction, one allocated it into existing conservation programs for living species, we would see a much bigger increase in biodiversity—roughly two to eight times more species saved. In other words, the money would be better spent elsewhere to prevent existing species from going extinct in the first place [DOI: 10.1038/s41559-016-0053] [DX], the team reports today in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

[article abstract not yet available]


Original Submission

Mammoth DNA Activates Briefly in Mouse Eggs 18 comments

If you remember in 2017, it was predicted Resurrection of the Woolly Mammoth Could Begin in Two Years.

Well it's 2019, and now that it is two years later... and so they have, of course, accomplished nothing of the sort are working on it.

[...] researchers extracted cells from Yuka, a woolly mammoth mummy (Mammuthus primigenius) whose remains were discovered in the Siberian permafrost in 2011. Then, the scientists recovered the least-damaged nuclei (structures that contain genetic material) from each cell and popped the nuclei into mouse eggs.

At first, this maneuver "activated" the mammoth chromosomes, as several biological reactions that occur before cell division actually happened within the mouse cell. But these reactions soon came to a crashing halt, probably, in part, because the mammoth DNA was severely damaged after spending 28,000 years buried in permafrost, the researchers said.

Beth Shapiro, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who was not part of the study, commented:

at first, the cellular machinery did try to fix damaged DNA within the chromosomes and piece together the broken bits [...] "But [the egg] can only do so much, [...] When the nuclei are badly damaged, then it's just not possible to reconstitute this to what you would need to do to actually bring it back to life."

According to Shapiro:

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by c0lo on Tuesday September 14, @10:55AM (16 children)

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 14, @10:55AM (#1177655) Journal

    With the climate warming up, maybe it's not such a brilliant idea to resurrect a species that was adapted to Ice Age conditions.
    Perhaps more attention to pay to saving the present living species on their way to extinction due to a reckless humanity?

    But again... the ways to make profit from the commons are fewer by the day, and this one clearly have potential to part the fools and their money.

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @11:23AM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @11:23AM (#1177657)

      if you think about it, humans are really mocking the natural order by doing this.
      polar bears are literally starving to death or killing themselves by swimming too large distances between disappearing chunks of ice. orangutans are having their forests cut down from under them. and so on.
      and yet, humans think the solution to global warming is to breed hybrid elephant mammoths that will destroy forests throughout Siberia, allowing grasslands to come back. at least that's the way I understand this summary. honestly, they're not even trying.

      some rich asshole is bored with elephant and whale meat, and wants to try mammoth meat.
      the scientists involved want to maintain some appearance of sanity, and they make absurd claims that bringing back the mammoth will help the climate.

      look... if you're too ashaimed of the reasons behind your actions, then maybe you should reconsider what you're doing, instead of making up bullshit.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by c0lo on Tuesday September 14, @12:07PM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 14, @12:07PM (#1177664) Journal

        and yet, humans think the solution to global warming is to breed hybrid elephant mammoths...

        You really think that they are doing it as "the solution to global warming"?
        My nose smells "VC creating unicorns to sell".

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday September 14, @03:24PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 14, @03:24PM (#1177720) Journal

        some rich asshole is bored with elephant and whale meat, and wants to try mammoth meat.

        At least they're not wanting to try human meat.

        They probably wouldn't like it. But you never know unless you try.

        --
        Never use a needlessly simple solution to a problem when a much more complex solution would suffice.
      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday September 14, @03:37PM

        by HiThere (866) on Tuesday September 14, @03:37PM (#1177729) Journal

        I really doubt that mammoths would destroy forests. That seems foolish speculation, and without any reasonable basis in fact.

        OTOH, I don't think there's any reasonable place for them to live. Even buffalo are having a hard time. But perhaps there are areas of the tundra that could support mammoths but not bison. In that case polar bears might need to find a new hunting style to exploit a new food source. (I can be silly too.)

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        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday September 15, @01:10AM (2 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 15, @01:10AM (#1177919) Journal

        if you think about it, humans are really mocking the natural order by doing this.

        My take is that "natural order", or rather your conception of it, needs some mocking. No amount of fatuous sanctimony will bring back a species that has gone extinct. This technology will.

        polar bears are literally starving to death or killing themselves by swimming too large distances between disappearing chunks of ice. orangutans are having their forests cut down from under them. and so on.

        And if we can bring back mammoths from being extinct for over 6,000 years, then we definition can do something more recent like bring back polar bears or orangutans from the edge of extinction.

        some rich asshole is bored with elephant and whale meat, and wants to try mammoth meat. the scientists involved want to maintain some appearance of sanity, and they make absurd claims that bringing back the mammoth will help the climate.

        look... if you're too ashaimed of the reasons behind your actions, then maybe you should reconsider what you're doing, instead of making up bullshit.

        My take is that doing the right is more important than why you're doing the right thing. If hypocrisy brings back the mammoths, I'll consider it a great deal.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 17, @05:08PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 17, @05:08PM (#1178708)

          "Bringing back" species is pointless if we continue to occupy the land they need and perpetuate the conditions that led to their extinction. These "mammoths" will only benefit zoos and novelty meat producers.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday September 18, @12:10AM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 18, @12:10AM (#1178976) Journal

            "Bringing back" species is pointless if we continue to occupy the land they need and perpetuate the conditions that led to their extinction.

            "IF". There's still quite a bit of unoccupied, mammoth-friendly land out there, such as most of Siberia. And if they were hunted to extinction in the first place, then not hunting them to extinction a second time would qualify as perpetuating a different sort of conditions.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @11:34AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @11:34AM (#1177658)

      Hunting was probably more responsible than warming temperatures, although both would have contributed.

      The main reason not to do this, in my opinion, is that they would still be mammoth/elephant hybrids, and not true mammoths. An elephant with extra fur isn't a mammoth. Once they have the real deal DNA they can think about it. This isn't reviving mammoths, it's creating a new species. It's not a given that this is a good idea. Reintroduction of locally extinct species has sometimes been good, but this isn't a reintroduction, it's a whole new genetically engineered species.

      De-extinction is something that has to go exactly right the first time. Rather than starting with a giant, cuddly animal that already has cartoon characters, they should dig up some mouse bones from a pyramid and practice on them.

    • (Score: 1, Redundant) by HammeredGlass on Tuesday September 14, @12:11PM (4 children)

      by HammeredGlass (12241) on Tuesday September 14, @12:11PM (#1177667)

      The current ice age we are exiting from, would be regardless of human acceleration, is three million years old. What you refer to as the ice age that ended ~11 thousand years ago was merely an glacial period of the aforementioned ice age.

      • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday September 14, @04:51PM (3 children)

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday September 14, @04:51PM (#1177757) Journal

        Yep, it took us 3 million years to get through the first half of the warming and about 3 decades to get through the second half.

        That rate of change to the rate of change is totally fine.

  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Tuesday September 14, @12:04PM (8 children)

    by looorg (578) on Tuesday September 14, @12:04PM (#1177663)

    It's both appalling and intriguing at the same time. It's nice to have the ability to bring back what was once extinct, for once not by modern human hands. But at the same time at what purpose? Why do we need Woolly mammoth hybrids roaming the earth again? Are they filling some kind of niche we need? Beyond playing God or whatever.

    At the same time I look forward to Mammoth steak if they become just common enough ...

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday September 14, @12:23PM (4 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 14, @12:23PM (#1177671) Homepage Journal

      Mammoth steak? Maybe. I'll use the American bison as an example. I often ate beefalo burgers at the local burger joint when I was young. They raised their own hybrid buffalo in the fields behind the burger stand. They didn't serve steak, all the meat went into burger meat, and they were damned good burgers. Later in life, I got the opportunity to purchase real bison meat. Hmmm - IMO, it's just not as good as the beefalo, or as good as most beef. Bison is tougher, and the flavor just doesn't seem quite right.

      Mammoth may be the same. Extra gamy game meat may appeal to some people, but it doesn't appeal to the masses.

      FWIW, the best beef I've ever sunk my teeth into, is Angus and Brangus, with the Brangus being ever so slightly more tender. Nothing else compares, IMO.

      --
      alles in Ordnung
      • (Score: 2) by looorg on Tuesday September 14, @12:26PM (2 children)

        by looorg (578) on Tuesday September 14, @12:26PM (#1177672)

        Mammoth burgers does sound even more tempting now. Bring back the Mammoths!

        • (Score: 3, Touché) by takyon on Tuesday September 14, @12:37PM (1 child)

          by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Tuesday September 14, @12:37PM (#1177675) Journal

          Spoiler alert. It will taste like elephant.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday September 14, @03:43PM

            by HiThere (866) on Tuesday September 14, @03:43PM (#1177732) Journal

            If they get it right, it won't taste like elephant. But what it would taste like I couldn't guess. However, different diets yield different flavors, and mammoths didn't live in tropical jungles.

            --
            Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @01:40PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @01:40PM (#1177684)

        tastes like chicken?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @12:36PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @12:36PM (#1177674)

      Oh, F off with the "playing god" nonsense.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DannyB on Tuesday September 14, @03:25PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 14, @03:25PM (#1177722) Journal

        They're not playing god. They're playing genetic engineer. And they're not playing.

        --
        Never use a needlessly simple solution to a problem when a much more complex solution would suffice.
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday September 15, @01:30AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 15, @01:30AM (#1177928) Journal

      Why do we need Woolly mammoth hybrids roaming the earth again?

      Why do we need anything? My take is that it's likely the reason that mammoths and a whole lot of other large mammals became extinct is because of humans hunting them to extinction. So we have some responsibility to bring them back and figure a way to fit them back into our world. After all, there are still a bunch of plants [americanforests.org] throughout the northern hemisphere that are adapted to a plant-eater that hasn't been around for longer than human civilization has existed.

      Now let’s return to the forlorn fruit of the Osage orange. Nothing today eats it. Once it drops from the tree, all of them on a given tree practically in unison, the only way it moves is to roll downhill or float in flood waters. Why would you evolve such an over-engineered, energetically expensive fruit if gravity and water are your only dispersers, and you like to grow on higher ground? You wouldn’t. Unless you expected it to be eaten by mammoths or ground-sloths.

      According to my field guide, Osage-orange has a limited natural range in the Red River region of east-central Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, and adjacent Arkansas. Indians used to travel hundreds of miles for the wood, prized as the finest for making bows. Then European settlers planted it widely as living fences, taking advantage of the tree’s ability to spread via shoots from lateral roots. But Osage-orange persisted, and became widely naturalized long after the invention of barbed wire rendered them useless to farmers. The tree can now be found in 39 states and Ontario. If Osage-orange does so well elsewhere, why was it restricted to such a small area?

      [...]

      Now when you see an Osage-orange, coffeetree, or honeylocust, you might sense the ghosts of megafauna munching on treats made just for them. (You may even see tropical ghosts in your local grocery store hungrily eyeing the avocados and papayas.) But you can also conjure megafaunal ghosts by considering the weapons designed by trees to discourage or slow their big mouths from eating the foliage.

      Osage-orange, mesquite, and hawthorn all bear stiff thorns, spaced too widely apart to do much good against narrow deer muzzles, but they would be unavoidably painful in the wide mouths of groundsloths and mastodons. Wild honeylocusts have vicious, trident-like thorns several inches long covering the lower trunk and branches. Hollies have prickly leaves. Devil’s walkingstick is festooned with wicked prickles. In all these heavily armored trees the thorns or prickles are present well above the reach of browsing deer, where they could still frustrate a mammoth’s trunk or a giant ground-sloth’s muzzle, but no higher. Cacti, Joshua trees, and other yuccas of the Southwest are particularly well armed in case the Shasta ground-sloths return.

      If some trees have evolved big fruits so that huge mammals would disperse their seeds, why, now that those dispersers are gone, do they waste their efforts on big fruits that rot on the ground with seeds that will never germinate? If some trees have been in an evolutionary arms race with megafaunal browsers, why not disarm and save energy now that their enemies have been eliminated?

      It’s true that such adaptations are now anachronistic; they have lost their relevance. But the trees have been slow to catch on; a natural consequence of the pace of evolution. For a tree that lives, say, 250 years, 13,000 years represents only 52 generations. In an evolutionary sense, the trees don’t yet realize that the megafauna are gone.

      This would all be just another interesting natural history story if not for the very strong likelihood – many scientists would say fact – that humans, not climate change, caused the extinction of the megafauna, mainly by hunting. Humans first came to North America from Siberia just before the megafauna became extinct. That was also at the end of the last Ice Age, but all those species had been through over 20 previous ice-age cycles and come out just fine. The same two-step sequence occurred when humans first came to the West Indies about 6,000 years ago, Australia 50,000 years ago, Madagascar 2,000 years ago, and New Zealand less than 1000 years ago. Wherever humans first colonized the world, megafauna soon disappeared, an extinction pattern that is not correlated with climate change or anything else.

      Consider that last paragraph. There's a strong indication that humanity has fairly recently caused the extinction of almost all large land animals. The ecosystems of today are missing that component. How long ago do we need to cause an extinction before it is no longer our responsibility to reverse it as best we can?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @12:23PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @12:23PM (#1177670)

    How comes it's a good idea to introduce a new species in the ecosystem and a bad idea to remove a species (mosquitoes)?

    Hasn't Australia played with introducing species?

    • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @12:40PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @12:40PM (#1177676)

      >> Hasn't Australia played with introducing species?

      Yes, and those transported criminals wreaked havoc on the ecosystem.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday September 14, @03:29PM (1 child)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 14, @03:29PM (#1177723) Journal

      How comes it's a good idea to introduce a new species in the ecosystem and a bad idea to remove a species (mosquitoes)?

      Q. Who made the biggest mistake in history?

      A.


      Noah. He didn't swat the two flies when he had the chance.

      If you want to introduce a NEW species, how about robots that are adapted for climate change and don't need personal time off days.

      --
      Never use a needlessly simple solution to a problem when a much more complex solution would suffice.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @10:53PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @10:53PM (#1177888)

        》 Q. Who made the biggest mistake in history?

        DannyB's father, for forgetting to buy condoms that one time.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @12:44PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @12:44PM (#1177677)

    Dr. Ian Malcolm:
    "Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."

    In other news, we have cows being potty trained!
    Now THAT will save the planet!

    Got to agree with the other comments in here...can we focus on saving what is going extinct in the present FIRST?

    Oh and the moderation on Soylent SUCKS.
    There were some great responses in this thread and many other stories that recieved crap...what gives there??

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @12:52PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @12:52PM (#1177679)

    A living species is more than the DNA that describes how to make it.
    It is also the biological machinery that interpretes when, where, and how to use those instructions.
    "Close enough' may make a sustainable life form, but it won't be the 'same' one. It will be a new one.

    Introducing a new species is not without risk.
    There is no compelling reason to do this.
    Just because we can or mere profit does not make it a good idea.

    Hopefully, it is just a fundraising stunt which won't do any harm.

    • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday September 14, @03:46PM (2 children)

      by HiThere (866) on Tuesday September 14, @03:46PM (#1177735) Journal

      Well, with mammoths, if they become an invasive species they're pretty easy to get rid of. They're large enough that there won't be many of them, they can't hide, and they're easy to shoot from airplanes. Unlike rabbits.

      --
      Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @06:04PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 14, @06:04PM (#1177779)

        Yes and additionally, they'll be living far enough away from currently existing elephants that the likelihood of them spreading their genes to other species will be negligible. Assuming they're even let outside of a park, which is somewhat doubtful.

      • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Wednesday September 15, @10:21PM

        by hendrikboom (1125) on Wednesday September 15, @10:21PM (#1178133) Homepage Journal

        with mammoths, if they become an invasive species they're pretty easy to get rid of

        We've already done it once, and we have better technology now.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by iWantToKeepAnon on Tuesday September 14, @01:41PM

    by iWantToKeepAnon (686) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 14, @01:41PM (#1177685) Homepage Journal
    ... to leave out that gene that creates a single faulty enzyme in protein metabolism, so the animals can't manufacture the amino acid lysine!
    --
    "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." -- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by PinkyGigglebrain on Wednesday September 15, @01:41AM (1 child)

    by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Wednesday September 15, @01:41AM (#1177935)

    just my 2 yen.

    The people who want ot do things like this and the others who give them money don't look past the "Wow! Bring back the $ANIMAL from extinction! Sounds Cool!" never actually think about what comes after you bring them back from the dead. Where will they live, who will be responsible for their care, etc..

    Just because we can do something doesn't mean we should.

    /rant

    Thank you for your attention.

    --
    "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
  • (Score: 1) by Zoot on Wednesday September 15, @02:48AM (1 child)

    by Zoot (679) on Wednesday September 15, @02:48AM (#1177951)

    So de-extincting placental mammals is tough, because you need host mothers to impregnate with your experiments, elephants have nearly a two year gestation period, and it may take many tries to achieve success. Along the way you're going to have to deal with miscarriages other failures, and even if you have successful births you're going to have to care for each one that isn't quite up to your goals. This is going to be a tough sell for animal rights people and it may well make the whole project unviable.

    Birds on the other hand should be much MUCH easier. You only need to get eggs from a related donor species and replace the embryo with your new creation. You can run many more attempts in parallel and dealing with the ones that don't turn out is much easier as well. Both the Dodo and Passenger Pigeon should have easily recoverable genomes (but don't forget to screen for retroviruses). The Passenger Pigeon has close living relatives and you might get away with just swapping the DNA out etc.

    So as much as Woolly Mammoths get a lot of press, I predict it is not going to happen any time soon, and definitely not until we have success with one or both of the birds.

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