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"Conditionally Alive" Mammath Cells Discovered



Get ready for another round of cloning talk...

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/afp/20030203/mammoth.html

Feb. 9  Russian scientists said Wednesday that they've found living cells
in a frozen ice-age mammoth that could provide the DNA needed to resurrect
the long-extinct tuskers.

Cells obtained from the well-preserved legs of a mammoth found last summer
in Russia's far-northern Yakutia region are "conditionally alive," said
Vladimir Repin of the Vektor Research Center for Virusology and
Biotechnology.
...
Repin said that the living cells could prove to be good for cloning
purposes.

"The cell material is unique because it contains not just intact mammoth
DNA but whole cells which have been perfectly preserved for 10,000 years,"
the Vektor press service said.

The latest finding comes as a boon to a group of Russian and Japanese
scientists who are planning to revive the mammoth once they can find
usable DNA material.

The team, led by Japan's Kazufumi Goto, a former professor of reproductive
physiology at Kagoshima University, said last August that it would be
"technically possible" to produce mammoth calves using the DNA and
artificially inseminating an elephant cow.

The mammoth remains, still covered in reddish fur, were found frozen in
the soil next to a riverbank near Yakutsk. ...
...
Goto hopes that by using good DNA from an ice-age mammoth he will be able
to produce a hybrid of a mammoth and an elephant.

By impregnating each female hybrid with mammoth DNA, Goto believes he can
produce a mammoth-elephant hybrid in which the original mammoth would
predominate in its genetic constitution.

The Japanese researcher hopes that the resurrected mammoths will live in a
sanctuary in an uninhabited area north of the remote, frozen Kamchatka
peninsula in Russia's Far East, where present conditions resemble their
original habitat.