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Mammoth DNA activates briefly in mouse eggs

Accepted submission by RandomFactor at 2019-03-14 22:49:44 from the an old piano in a tree dept.

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

Well it's 2019, and that's two years ago, and of course nothing of the sort they 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.

Even so the cells weren't viable and cell division didn't occur because the

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

The results presented here clearly show us again the de facto impossibility to clone the mammoth by current NT [nuclear-transfer] technology,

However that does not mean all is lost

Other research groups are also trying to resurrect the mammoth, using different technology. George Church, a geneticist at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is heading the Harvard Woolly Mammoth Revival team, is taking one approach. He's using CRISPR — a tool that can edit DNA's bases, or letters — to insert woolly mammoth genes into the DNA of Asian elephants, which are closely related to the extinct animals.

All of this is not without the usual controversies, but it will certainly be an accomplishment should they succeed.

For those who are unaware, there is a nibble of truth to Pliny the Elder's assertion in A.D. 77 that Elephants hate mice, as it turns out Elephants will definitely avoid the heck out of mice in the wild [].

Considering the close relationship of elephants and mammoths, perhaps mixing their bits together with mice is not the best approach?

Original Submission