Dinosaurs and Dragons
When will these Scientists ever learn? Sometimes things are extinct for a reason? Will woolly Mammoths have some incurable virus? Are movies just movies or can they be prophetic devices similar to the prophets of old.
Published Date: 20 November 2008
THE woolly mammoth may be closer to walking again after scientists unscrambled most of its genetic code. Experts from the United States and Russia say they have pieced together 80 per cent of the mammoth genome, using DNA samples extracted from hair preserved over tens of thousands of years.
The chemical sequences shed new light on the evolution of mammoths and elephants, and are expected to help answer why mammoths failed to survive. They may also help future researchers bring the mammoth back to life by inserting its genes into the modern-day elephant, the scientists believe.
However, other experts said that resurrecting the woolly mammoth would be an enormously difficult task. Much of the work was done using DNA taken from the hair of two mammoths mummified in Siberian permafrost. One had been buried for 20,000 years and the other for at least 60,000.
DNA data from a number of other specimens investigated previously helped to complete the genetic jigsaw. Hair was a better source of DNA than bone because it protected the strands of genetic material like “biological plastic”, said the scientists. The findings, reported today in the journal Nature, revealed that woolly mammoths and modern-day elephants share many genes and are more closely related than had previously been thought. The mammoth genome differs from that of the African elephant by as little as 0.6 per cent.