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re:Quatenary Park and Apology



First off, let me humbly apologize to the list members that recvd an 
automatically generated e-mail informing them of my abscence from the office. I 
must have accidentally included the listserv on the agent. I made sure that it 
will never happen again. To those that sent me a "hate" mail as a response......

Re: Quatenary Park:
snipped: disagree with this argument.  For keeping extant species alive, we are
>trying to maintain existing ecosystems.  Bringing back extinct species
>would be to modify ecosystems.  

One of the points I have raised previously  on the list is the possibility that 
even before extensive ecosystem destruction by man, our planet's ecosystems 
were very much in flux. One has to wonder if there has been enough time for 
ecosystems to stabilize since the recession of the last ice age. Given that we 
are still in a Glacial Age, how do we determine what kind of ecosystems need to 
be present to preserve species not only through this interglacial, but through 
the next glaciation event and beyond? 
>Understandably, there is a fine line
>as to recently lost species.
While the debate is far from settled, there is strong reason to believe that 
man is responsible for the extinction of Mammoths and Mastadons in N.A.. Humans 
do not need bulldozers and chainsaws to cause extinctions. If there is habitat 
suitable  for moose and elk, there should be room for elephantids.  The only 
thing for sure is that CURRENTLY, there is no suitable habitat for long-term 
sustainability of mammoths anywhere but a zoo.

>As far as bringing back a mammoth is concerned, I believe the goal there
>is different.  I can't imagine that anyone really expects to restore a
>species in this manner, I doubt they will succeed any further than 
>creating an interesting zoo animal.  From a scientific perspective, I
>find it very intriguing, and would be dying to follow any results of the
>work.  If nothing else, it will give us an idea of how well we can read
>the fossil record, at least the recent fossil record.  

Surely economic interests are driving this experiment, but be forewarned, if 
successful, a true mammoth will NOT be produced. The concept is simple: combine 
two well known procedures:(1) embryo transfer; (2) cloning techniques that 
involve stripping an ovum of its DNA and implanting the DNA of another mammoth. 
What is not clearly understood is the uterine enviroment. How will the uterine 
enviornment of an Elephant impact the developing Mammoth fetus? There is a 
chance it will NEVER come to term. There is also the likelihood that the 
uterine enviroment will "modify" the phenotype of the fetus. This however is 
not an "easy" experiment to try. I have performed several embryo transfers 
before and while not terribly difficult on say a sheep, an elephant would pre
sent all kinds of problems due to their great size. Speaking of which, an 
embryo transfer requires two surgical procedures, not just one!  Secondly, the 
PETA people would go nuts if UNNECCESSARY surgery were performed on what is 
surely one of the "more intelligent" animals we share this planet with.

-Dave