Thursday, September 13, 2012

Russian Scientists Attempt To Clone Woolly Mammoth

Prehistoric Science

This is the type of scientific discovery that is both a curiosity and of scientific merit. An article in The Christian Science Monitor says that Russian scientists have discovered a well-preserved woolly mammoth remains in a remote part of Russia, a long-extinct beast which they hope might contain sufficient genetic material to clone. The article says:
The Russian-led international team found the remains, including fur and bone marrow, with some cell nuclei intact, in the Ust-Yansk area of the Yakutia region on Russia's Arctic coast.
The next step will be to search for living cells among the material which was preserved in the Siberian permafrost, said the Russian scientist who led the expedition with members from the United States, Canada, South Korea, Sweden and Great Britain.
"All we need for cloning is one living cell, which means it can reproduce autonomously. Then it will be no problem for us to multiply them to tens of thousands cells," said Semyon Grigoryev, a professor at North-East Federal University (NEFU).
The chief requirement for cloning is that cells have to be living; that means that the cells in the woolly mammoth would have had to be in an environment where the ambient temperature held steady between -4 and -20 Celsius. Such is a unlikely probability for a beast that last roamed the earth 10,000 years ago. There have been other efforts in the past; none thus far successful. If this attempt proves successful, it would be a scientific coup, bringing us a step closer to understanding our prehistoric past. 

The scientists would also be good candidates to receive the “Jurassic Park Prize,” a concept under development by the X Prize Foundation, the same group that awarded a 2004 prize for the first private spacecraft.

You can read the rest of the article at [The Christian Science Monitor]