Scientists a step closer to "bringing back" mammoths
Scientists a step closer to "bringing back" mammoths At left, Eleftheria Palkopoulou inspects a woolly mammoth tusk (AP photo / Thinkstock)
Scientists a step closer to "bringing back" mammoths
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Scientists are getting their best look yet at the DNA code for the woolly mammoth. It's thanks to work that could be a step toward bringing back the extinct beast.

Researchers deciphered the complete DNA code, or genomes, of two mammoths. The new genomes are far more refined than a previous one announced. That was in 2008. DNA determines what traits a living organism will have.

One new genome comes from a mammoth that lived about 45,000 years ago in northeastern Siberia. The other comes from a creature that lived about 4,300 years ago. It lived on Russia's Wrangel Island in the Arctic Circle.

The results were announced in a paper released by the journal Current Biology. The DNA was extracted from a tooth and a sample of soft tissue.

Woolly mammoths were about as big as modern African elephants. They sported long curved tusks and thick hairy coats. They are the best-known species of mammoth. The information comes from frozen and often well-preserved carcasses in Siberia.

The Wrangel Island population was the last of the creatures to go extinct. Some scientists have suggested that mammoths could be created anew through genetic engineering. Not everybody favors the idea.

Love Dalen of the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, an author of the new study, said re-creating mammoths is not a goal of his research team. He also said it's "very uncertain" that it's even possible.

Still, he wrote in an email, "Our genomes bring us one critical step closer to re-creating a mammoth."

"I think it would be cool if it could be done, but I'm not sure it should be done."

One ethical drawback, he said, is that elephants would be used as surrogate mothers. The elephants would carry the genetically engineered mammoth embryos. That species mismatch might lead to problems that cause the mothers to suffer, he said.

Hendrik Poinar of Canada's McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, is another study author. He said the new work "gives us at least a blueprint to work from."

Poinar said mammoths could be a welcome addition if re-introduced to the wild. But if they were made just for exhibition at zoos, "I don't see any good in that at all."

Critical thinking challenge: Why were mammoth's wooly?

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/scientists-step-closer-bringing-back-mammoths/

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COMMENTS (153)
  • APangaro-1
    4/29/2015 - 08:19 p.m.

    Scientists have gotten their best look yet at the DNA code for the woolly mammoth. The genomes, or complete DNA codes were deciphered from two mammoths. One genome came from a mammoth that lived 45,000 years ago in northeastern Siberia. the other genome came from a mammoth that lived 4,300 years ago that lived in Russia's Wrangel Island in the Arctic Circle. A scientist said, "Our genomes bring us one critical step closer to recreating a mammoth." I think that this would be quite an accomplishment if mammoth's could be "recreated." It may cause problems though in the long run.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    4/29/2015 - 08:30 p.m.

    The scientists are trying to bring back the extinct animals called mammoths. I think that it will be pretty cool if the mammoths came back. A lot of people will go visit the mammoths and tons of other things will be done. If there is no problem that the mammoth can cause then there would be no reason not to bring back the mammoths. I also think that it is interesting that the scientists would keep the remains of the mammoth for so long. If every extinct animal would come back I think that there will be some interesting things that will go on.

  • ivans-Koc
    4/29/2015 - 09:39 p.m.

    It seems like a really interesting thing to do. But you have to be careful when introducing a new species of animal or even plant because it could be harmful to an already stable ecosystem.

  • Jonathan_27
    4/29/2015 - 09:43 p.m.

    It would be amazing if scientists could actually bring back a mammoth. The huge mammal would be interesting to see in real life, as it would probably resemble a big elephant. That being said, the fact that it is such a huge animal might mess up the food chain, if it were not captivated in a zoo, because mammoths eat a lot and it would prey on food that might already be predatorize, which could totally screw up the whole chain.

  • SierraM-Bru
    4/29/2015 - 11:35 p.m.

    This article is mostly about the DNA of the wooly mammoth and how we are trying to bring it back. I say this because according to the article it says "Researchers deciphered the complete DNA code, or genomes, of two mammoths. One new genome comes from a mammoth that lived about 45,000 years ago in northeastern Siberia, The other comes from a creature that lived about 4,300 years ago.The DNA was extracted from a tooth and a sample of soft tissue.

  • BeckettN-2
    4/30/2015 - 12:10 a.m.

    This article is about recent developments in possible mammoth cloning. Scientist have been able to replicate the woolly mammoth's DNA sequence and in the future, may be able to clone them using an elephant as a surrogate mother. I think it wold be cool to see a mammoth back alive, but i think it would be pretty terrible to only have its species for human amusement.

  • CameronK-3
    4/30/2015 - 02:23 a.m.

    Scientists are getting closer to bringing back the wooly mammoth. Researchers now have the complete DNA code of two wooly mammoths. The DNA came from a mammoth living about 45,000 years ago, and one living about 4,300 years ago. The DNA was taken from a tooth and a sample of soft tissue. Wooly mammoths are about as large as African elephants, but these mammoths have long curved tusks and a thick coat of hair. The research team said if they were to create a wooly mammoth, they would use an elephant as a vessel for the embryo. I find this article very interesting about bringing back the wooly mammoth, but I don't know if it should be done.

  • Katherineh-Pav
    4/30/2015 - 10:22 a.m.

    I think it is amazing how they are so close to bringing mammoths back because they lived so long ago. Mammoths were amazing creatures and if they bring them back, it would be a major tourist attraction. I am just wondering where they are going to put the mammoths if they do bring them back. I am really excited to see what happens!

  • Christopherb-Pav
    4/30/2015 - 10:23 a.m.

    Fossils are great because they give us a chance to take a look into the past. but now we may be able to bring back the past which is amazing because it can help us find out more about the way the mammoths adapted and lived

  • 21ikvanb
    4/30/2015 - 12:05 p.m.

    I don't think that it's possible to breed a mammoth without the parents. I believe that it's impossible to breed a species once they have disappeared from the face of the earth. And even if it can be done it shouldn't. Trying to breed a species without both parents being of that specie can genetically alter the species and create chaos. Not to mention it could be harmful to the environment. I agree with the Swedish scientist it can't be done, but even if it can, that doesn't mean that it should.

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