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article imageOp-Ed: Mammoth Cloning maybe possible

By Eliot Elwar     Aug 23, 2013 in Science
For many years, the woolly mammoths have vanished from the Earth, while remnants of theses beast are preserved in Siberian glaciers. Recently, the blood of an extinct Siberian mammoth was found and scientists believe they can resurrect these beasts.
A Japanese geneticist team has made a scientific breakthrough in the effort to clone a woolly mammoth. The team had found a viable mammoth DNA sample to use for cloning pre-historic animals. The researchers have devised a revolutionary technique to extract intact nuclei from preserved mammoth eggs, which they will later insert into a modern elephant eggs. This procedure should result into a viable living embryo. The potential mammoth's birthday is roughly five years and six months away, if the baby mammoth clone survives. This mammoth clone will probably reveal answers about mammoth extinction,” according to Alaska Dispatch.
A scientific team has discovered blood and muscle tissue, perfectly preserved in the ice, from a Siberian mammoth. The dead mammoth dripped blood into a natural ice capsule and it represents a dream discovery for science researchers. The dark mammoth blood was found in ice cavities below the animal’s belly. When researchers broke the cavities with a poll pick, the blood came flowing out. This discovery surprised the scientists because the temperature was 10C below zero, according to RT news.
This discovery comes amid heated debates about whether scientists should attempt to resurrect extinct species back to life again by using DNA. Nevertheless, this experiment will happen because the Russian team that made the find has been working with South Korean scientists who are actively seeking to restore mammoth species back to life again, according to the Siberian Times.
Analysis
Woolly mammoths were elephant species that populated Eurasia and North America before they became extinct. Their living relatives are the African and Indian elephants. They differ from their elephantine cousins by their body shape and size, their thick heavy coat, their enormous tusks, and their five centimeters of insulating fat tissues. While many mammoth species were about the size of modern elephants, a few were gigantic. Many mammoths, including animal specimens that still have preserved flowers and other items in their stomachs, have been found before, some of the meat found was safe enough to eat. What makes this recent find so special is the fact that there was blood found in the mammoth carcass. In fact, it started to flow again when it thawed. The Russian scientific team has already partnered with the South Koreans to study the blood, learn its DNA sequencing, and eventually replicate the DNA and clone it into the egg of a modern-day elephant.
A few science researchers ask the question: “Why should we do this experiment?” Today’s elephants are similar to the woolly mammoth. They are big, they have trunks, and from samples found in other mammoths’ stomachs, modern elephants consume the same food as pre-historic mammoth elephants. We know nothing about any mammoth’s behavior or whether any of the intestinal microorganisms they would need to breakdown food may have also gone extinct. Therefore, bringing mammoths back a species would be ecologically problematic.
The scientific community wants to clone a mammoth as a way to improve their cloning techniques as a step toward eventually cloning a human being. As cloning technology continues to advance, then the likelihood for bringing back extinct species will occur. Eventually, we will see the return of sauropod and theropod dinosaurs such as Brachiosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex, great mammalian predators such as Smilodon and the giant short face bear, and the return of Neanderthal men. There may be little resistance to cloning pre-historic or modern animals, but cloning human beings raises ethical and moral questions with no real answers. Is a cloned human really human? How does one define a human being? Does a cloned human have a soul? These are questions we are currently not able to answer.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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