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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.