A controversial geneticist wants to clone a mammoth

Mammoths have long since perished, but it can not be excluded that they will once again appear on our planet. Perhaps this is due to the controversial genetics of Hwang Woo-Suk, who claims to have inherited the DNA of these extinct mammals and intends to bring them back to life.

Hwang Woo-suk is a geneticist who is considered to be a black sheep in his environment. It was he who had mislead the public at the time, declaring the attempt to clone stem cells, but soon came to falsify the results. So far he has left the people and is about to go for the animals. A few days ago a South Korean scientist visited Siberia, where he allegedly extracted DNA from a frozen mammoth’s 28,000-year-old DNA and claims to cloned it.

His plan is certainly bold, but the researchers are convinced that the chance of implementation is negligible. It is necessary for this undamaged DNA strand. Meanwhile, those extracted from the frozen mammoth are destroyed by thousands of years of exposure to cosmic rays.

George Church, Harvard Geneticist, believes that the Long Now Foundation is also working on a project to revive the mammoth. In his view, the problem of obtaining DNA is not the low temperature of the bones, but ionizing cosmic rays. Many samples have been frozen, but they are still completely destroyed by radiation and so far they have not been intact.

This is true of Beth Saphiro, an ancient DNA expert working at Santa Cruz University, whose teammates drilled together with Hwang in the mammoth bones. At first it seemed that the cells were intact, but it soon became clear that they were completely destroyed.

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However, the researchers do not lose hope, as the new CRISPR / Cas9 technology has recently arrived, which can help. This is a tool that allows molecular biologists to manipulate fragments of genetic material, so even if the sample is fragmented, it may be possible to assemble it by supporting the genetic material of the Asian elephant closest to the mammoth relative.

This will be a very difficult task, because the mammoth genome consists of 4 billion pairs of rules, and putting them together in 600 pairs of components is a very time consuming job. Perhaps that is why Hwang is constantly looking for undamaged DNA samples.

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