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World of Science BCE: Cloning Mammoths/34k year-old bacteria
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:39 pm    Post subject: World of Science BCE: Cloning Mammoths/34k year-old bacteria Reply with quote

So Japanese researchers are trying to bring back the mammoth:
Researchers aim to resurrect mammoth in five years
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110117/wl_asia_afp/japansciencemammoth_20110117104445
by Shingo Ito Mon Jan 17, 5:44 am ET
Quote:
TOKYO (AFP) – Japanese researchers will launch a project this year to resurrect the long-extinct mammoth by using cloning technology to bring the ancient pachyderm back to life in around five years time.
The researchers will try to revive the species by obtaining tissue this summer from the carcass of a mammoth preserved in a Russian research laboratory, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

"Preparations to realise this goal have been made," Akira Iritani, leader of the team and a professor emeritus of Kyoto University, told the mass-circulation daily. Under the plan, the nuclei of mammoth cells will be inserted into an elephant's egg cell from which the nuclei have been removed, to create an embryo containing mammoth genes, the report said. The embryo will then be inserted into an elephant's uterus in the hope that the animal will eventually give birth to a baby mammoth. The elephant is the closest modern relative of the mammoth, a huge woolly mammal believed to have died out with the last Ice Age. Some mammoth remains still retain usable tissue samples, making it possible to recover cells for cloning, unlike dinosaurs, which disappeared around 65 million years ago and whose remains exist only as fossils. Researchers hope to achieve their aim within five to six years, the Yomiuri said.

The team, which has invited a Russian mammoth researcher and two US elephant experts to join the project, has established a technique to extract DNA from frozen cells, previously an obstacle to cloning attempts because of the damage cells sustained in the freezing process.

Another Japanese researcher, Teruhiko Wakayama of the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology, succeeded in 2008 in cloning a mouse from the cells of another that had been kept in temperatures similar to frozen ground for 16 years. The scientists extracted a cell nucleus from an organ of a dead mouse and planted it into the egg of another mouse which was alive, leading to the birth of the cloned mouse. Based on Wakayama's techniques, Iritani's team devised a method to extract the nuclei of mammoth eggs without damaging them.

But a successful cloning will also pose challenges for the team, Iritani warned.

"If a cloned embryo can be created, we need to discuss, before transplanting it into the womb, how to breed (the mammoth) and whether to display it to the public," Iritani said.
"After the mammoth is born, we will examine its ecology and genes to study why the species became extinct and other factors."
More than 80 percent of all mammoth finds have been dug up in the permafrost of the vast Sakha Republic in eastern Siberia.
Exactly why a majority of the huge creatures that once strode in large herds across Eurasia and North America died out towards the end of the last Ice Age has generated fiery debate.
Some experts hold that mammoths were hunted to extinction by the species that was to become the planet's dominant predator -- humans.
Others argue that climate change was more to blame, leaving a species adapted for frozen climes ill-equipped to cope with a warming world.


***********

On the other side of the world (Death Valley to be precise) 34,000 year old bacteria were found IN SALT CRYSTALS AND REVIVED

34,000-Year-Old Organisms Found Buried Alive!
http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/ancient-bacteria-organisms-found-buried-alive-110112.html
By Andrea Mustain, OurAmazingPlanet Staff Writer
posted: 13 January 2011 11:18 am ET

Quote:
It's a tale that has all the trappings of a cult 1960s sci-fi movie: Scientists bring back ancient salt crystals, dug up from deep below Death Valley for climate research. The sparkling crystals are carefully packed away until, years later, a young, unknown researcher takes a second look at the 34,000-year-old crystals and discovers, trapped inside, something strange. Something ... alive.

Thankfully this story doesn't end with the destruction of the human race, but with a satisfied scientist finishing his Ph.D.

"It was actually a very big surprise to me," said Brian Schubert, who discovered ancient bacteria living within tiny, fluid-filled chambers inside the salt crystals.

Salt crystals grow very quickly, imprisoning whatever happens to be floating — or living — nearby inside tiny bubbles just a few microns across, akin to naturally made, miniature snow-globes.

"It's permanently sealed inside the salt, like little time capsules," said Tim Lowenstein, a professor in the geology department at Binghamton University and Schubert's advisor at the time.

Lowenstein said new research indicates this process occurs in modern saline lakes, further backing up Schubert’s astounding discovery, which was first revealed about a year ago. The new findings, along with details of Schubert’s work, are published in the January 2011 edition of GSA Today, the publication of the Geological Society of America.

Schubert, now an assistant researcher at the University of Hawaii, said the bacteria — a salt-loving sort still found on Earth today — were shrunken and small, and suspended in a kind of hibernation state.

"They're alive, but they're not using any energy to swim around, they're not reproducing," Schubert told OurAmazingPlanet. "They're not doing anything at all except maintaining themselves."

The key to the microbes' millennia-long survival may be their fellow captives — algae, of a group called Dunaliella.

"The most exciting part to me was when we were able to identify the Dunaliella cells in there," Schubert said, "because there were hints that could be a food source."

With the discovery of a potential energy source trapped alongside the bacteria, it has begun to emerge that, like an outlandish Dr. Seuss invention (hello, Who-ville), these tiny chambers could house entire, microscopic ecosystems.

Other elderly bacteria?

Schubert and Lowenstein are not the first to uncover organisms that are astonishingly long-lived. About a decade ago, there were claims of discoveries of 250-million-year-old bacteria. The results weren't reproduced, and remain controversial.

Schubert, however, was able to reproduce his results. Not only did he grow the same organisms again in his own lab, he sent crystals to another lab, which then got the same results.

"So this wasn’t something that was just a contaminant from our lab," Schubert said.

Survival strategy

The next step for researchers is to figure out how the microbes, suspended in a starvation-survival mode for so many thousands of years, managed to stay viable.

"We're not sure what's going on," Lowenstein said. "They need to be able to repair DNA, because DNA degrades with time."

Schubert said the microbes took about two-and-a-half months to "wake up" out of their survival state before they started to reproduce, behavior that has been previously documented in bacteria, and a strategy that certainly makes sense.

"It's 34,000 years old and it has a kid," Schubert said. And ironically, once that happens, the new bacteria are, of course, entirely modern.

Of the 900 crystal samples Schubert tested, only five produced living bacteria. However, Schubert said, microbes are picky. Most organisms can't be cultured in the lab, so there could be many living microbes that just didn't like their new home enough to reproduce.

Still, wasn't it exciting to discover what could be one of the oldest living organisms on the planet?

"It worked out very well," Schubert said.

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mouse



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i'd have more faith in the mammoth researchers if they took the trouble to figure out the ecology of mammoths before they tried to make one. because if they don't know what kind of habitat/conditions the critters lived in, they are going to have some problems keeping one alive.
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Oneponytoruleall



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...

Last edited by Oneponytoruleall on Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

....and that's the nice thing?
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could always use the bacteria found in the salt crystals -- it repaired it's own DNA.
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Oneponytoruleall



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...

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Samsally



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*grabs the popcorn and waits for Jurassic Park to unfold*

What? A girl can dream, can't she?
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's that or the Flintstones
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Canopus



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This project sounds simply marvelous. However, I feel a bit short on excitement for the following reason.

I'm not arguing that this isn't potentially groundbreaking, but they could have selected a less mundane species to revive. To the layman, the woolly mammoth isn't much more than a hairy elephant. Hurrah, that's great. Let's move on.

I understand that the ancient pachyderm was chosen on account of extant genetic compatibility, but it just seems like a trivial provision to more conspicuous installments of biotechnological advances. Such as giving life to species that really stimulate the imagination: Pretty much anything else.
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Samsally



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holy shit, you really think they should completely compromise an already tricky experiment to maybe make a more -marketable- animal? There's no guarantee this is thing is going to work at all. If you pick some randomass cool animal to revive and it fails utterly and completely you honestly think all that money was worth it, or that if the scientists are all like "Well guys, we didn't get any positive results at all, but hey, pay up so we can do it again" that will actually fly? Why not give the experiment EVERY SINGLE CHANCE it has to work, so that, you know, if it doesn't fail horribly you'll probably get funding to do other, harder things in the future.

PS: Also you suck, woolly mammoths are fucking cool.
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Forlorn Devil



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/09/23/ancient-yeast-beer.html

45 million year old yeast beats out 34k old bacteria any day. Wink
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok, but I already posted that here when the story originally broke as well as the fact the bacteria were found in salt crystals, salt generally having the property of killing anything. also http://www.fossilfuelsbrewingco.com/
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Monkey Mcdermott



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Azalea, maybe its the fact that we have more wooly mammoth dna available than anything else, and its in better condition than any other wacky extinct millions of years old animal.
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tinkeringIdiot



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also wooly mammoths are absolutely cool. ABSOLUTELY!
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E-boy



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monkey Mcdermott wrote:
Azalea, maybe its the fact that we have more wooly mammoth dna available than anything else, and its in better condition than any other wacky extinct millions of years old animal.


There may be other candidates that are recent extinctions that we might, or might not do better on DNA with. What many of those are missing is a good surrogate mother. Like, say, an elephant. That and mammoths are charismatic animals.

Neanderthal DNA has been mostly sequenced now too. In theory we could clone one of them too. Ethical nightmare, of course. We did learn some neat things sequencing their genome though. Like we did interbreed with them at some point, and the comparisons also led researchers to suggest there may have been a second hominid species we interbred with (due to sequences that don't appear in humans outside Europe and Asia or in Neanderthals). Apparently they can tell a sequence has been introduced into a population through inter-species breeding by analysis Intriguing as hell, but I haven't heard much since the initial spread and the second hominid possibility was brought up in passing. Here's to hoping I see more on it in the near future.
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