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New DNA Technology Might Bring Back The Woolly Mammoth

posted 20 Mar 2013, 07:25 by Mpelembe   [ updated 20 Mar 2013, 07:26 ]

New advances in DNA technology might lead to the revival of long extinct species such as the passenger pigeon, the Southern gastric brooding frog and the woolly mammoth, scientists believe.

Cloning once required intact DNA for successful production, but scientists are experimenting with new methods using patching incomplete DNA from extinct animals with parts taken from modern descendents. The complete DNA is then used to grow embryos which will grow into modern creatures with some ancient parts. When these animals reproduce, their offspring will be very much like their original ancestors, scientists believe.

In the case of the woolly mammoth, scientists would complete its broken DNA with elephant DNA. An embryo would be created and place in an elephant surrogate. The elephant baby born would then grow up with some woolly mammoth traits. If mated with another elephant with woolly mammoth DNA, their offspring would carry much of the extinct animal’s features.

Elephants take a long time to reproduce and the technology is still in development, so it may be some time before human see living woolly mammoths again.


New York TimesNational Geographic, MIT Technology Review