Scientists at Harvard University in Massachusetts have successfully created Elephant cells that contain Mammoth Genes.
At least 14 important Mammoth genes were reproduced from frozen carcasses found in the Arctic’s permafrost.
A new technique was used by genetics professor, George Church to precisely manipulate elephant genes to accept the new mammoth genes.
Scientists hope that this is the first step towards recreating the whole hairy mammoth one day with its huge tusks.
The Daily Mail reports: A new method known as ‘Crispr’ – helping scientists make accurate changes to DNA – was used by genetics professor George Church, who replaced parts of elephant DNA with the mammoth genes.
He said: ‘We prioritised genes associated with cold resistance including hairiness, ear size, subcutaneous fat and, especially, haemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen around the body).’ ‘De-extinction’ enthusiast Mr Church, who was speaking to The Sunday Times science editor Jonathan Leake, added: ‘We now have functioning elephant cells with mammoth DNA in them.’
Mammoths co-existed with early humans who hunted them for food. They are the best studied of all prehistoric animals thanks to the discovery of frozen carcasses, as well as dung and skeletons.
The mammoth was roughly the size as a modern African elephant, standing up to 11ft tall and weighing about seven tonnes, and its fur and long hair protected it from severe winters.
There are at least three teams trying to rebuild the whole mammoth genome – which could one day become a template to recreate actual mammoths, reported The Sunday Times. But ancient DNA expert Professor Alex Greenwood said: ‘Money would be better spent focusing on conserving what we do have – than spending it on an animal that has been extinct for thousands of years.’
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