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Re: Quaternary Park?



Ronald Orenstein <ornstn@inforamp.net> wrote:
> But before we get too excited, remember that no one has, to my knowledge,
> grown
> a LIVING species of animal from a DNA sample alone!  So I wouldn't expect
to
> see mammoths at your local zoo too soon - much less cloned Spix's Macaws
or
> other rarities.  The best way to get more Spix's is to breed the
remaining
> birds (ie, the old-fashioned way).

>From Pointcast Business Network, under "Health," I quote the following:

"Dead sperm comes alive, makes offspring

June 30, 1998
New York (UPI) - Even after they have been freeze-dried like instant
coffee, torn to bits and declared dead, sperm can somehow figure out how to
fertilize eggs.  In the July issue of Nature Biotechnology, Hawaiian
researchers said they have conducted the first successful demonstration
that freeze-dried sperm can produce offspring."

The 10,000 reconstituted mouse sperm cells were described as having lost
their tails, and having had extensive damage to the membranes of their
heads and were "diagnosed as dead," but produced healthy baby mice
nonetheless when injected directly into mouse eggs (a process called
intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI) and the eggs were implanted into
surrogate mothers.  They were also subjected to airport metal detectors. 
The scientists say that this study shows that "spermatozoa do not need to
be alive in the conventional sense to support normal embryonic
development."  Research was conducted by Ryuzo Yanagimachi of Honolulu's
University of Hawaii.

"ICSI technology, which has so far produced more than 1,000 human babies,
is what makes it possible to consider recovering and using sperm from all
kinds of unlikely sources, like dead animals and even those that were dead
for centuries, like frozen woolly mammoths and the Ice Man.  There are,
however, a lot of questions that the scientists have to answer.  For
example, this study does not show how long freeze-dried material can be
stored, since the experiment lasted only three months."

-- Ralph Miller III     gbabcock@best.com

Perhaps the handlers will need to don mammoth costumes to provide
appropriate imprinting and to demonstrate how to breed "the old-fashioned
way."