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Mammoth Cloning

Not dinos, but still of interest.

Full article at



  By Dan Whipple  Thursday, February 10, 2000 
  An international team of scientists is working in Siberia to accomplish
  what Jefferson only imagined: the revival of the Siberian mammoth.
  The project, led by Bernard Buigues of France, has cut a
  well-preserved specimen of a Siberian mammoth from the permafrost
  on the Taimyr Peninsula and transported it to a controlled environment
  in the city of Khatanga about 200 miles away. 

  Larry Agenbroad, a paleontologist at Northern Arizona University and
  the only American member of the team, said experiments on the
  mammoth will begin in April. At that time, scientists will attempt to
  isolate intact strands of DNA from the mammoth to create a clone. 

  DNA extracted from the Jarkov mammoth will be inserted into the
  egg of an Asian elephant stripped of its elephant genes. If successful,
  the project will produce an animal that is 99.5 percent mammoth and
  0.5 percent elephant. Previous genetic research indicates that
  mammoths and Asian elephants share 95 percent of their genes. 
  Many scientists are skeptical about a successful cloning. Degradation
  of the mammoth's DNA has probably occurred in the 23,000 years
  since the animal died, they speculate. According to Agenbroad, the
  DNA has not yet been sampled. 
   Most scientific authorities believe successful cloning is unlikely.
  Agenbroad defends the effort. "I've had laboratories tell me that if
  can get DNA there's no problem," he said. "Some of the people who
  say it's impossible would have said it was impossible to clone a sheep
  10 years ago too." 

  But getting DNA undamaged by 23,000 years of time is a major

  "I don't think it has any chance of working," said Alex Greenwood of
  the American Museum of Natural History in New York. "When they
  cloned Dolly the sheep, they took live cells that they cultured from the
  donor. And they took the nucleus from that donor and put it into an
  egg that had no nucleus. That new nucleus was able to guide genesis
  of a new individual sheep with identical genetics of the donor." 

  Mammoth remains have been remarkably well-preserved over
  millennia. The Jarcov mammoth, however, is not perfectly preserved.
  And scientists need hundreds of millions of base pairs of continuous
  DNA for cloning. In most well-preserved mammoths, DNA fragments
  have only been 100 or 200 base pairs in length. 
  The Discovery Channel will present a program about the Jarkov
  mammoth project at 8 pm ET March 12.