Mammoths Genes Successfully Put Into Genome Of An Elephantadmin
Scientists from Harvard University have successfully inserted genes from the woolly mammoth into the genome of an elephant. George Church, the lead researcher has played down claims that the work brings us closer to recreating these animals. Actually woolly mammoths did not die out that long ago. They disappeared in large amounts around the mainland Eurasia and North America about 10,000 years ago. A small population 500-1,000 individuals survived on Wrangel Island for a further 6,000 years. Many resided in frozen parts of the world so their dead bodies became encased in permafrost, which kept them from decomposition.
They are remarkably well-preserved specimens and have been recovered as the ice has thawed. Scientists has found DNA from frozen cells, which could be stitched together. They have failed to find enough to perform cloning experiments. “We prioritized genes associated with cold resistance including hairiness, ear size, subcutaneous fat and, especially, hemoglobin [the molecule in red blood cells that transports oxygen around the body]” Church told the Sunday Times. “We now have functioning elephant cells with mammoth DNA in them. We have not published it in a scientific journal because there is more work to do, but we plan to do so.