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Zombified mammoth cells could mean a real Jurassic Park in the future Zombified mammoth cells could mean real Jurassic Park in the future



You know the story. Guy extracts dinosaur DNA from fossilized mosquito. Dinosaur eggs hatch. Prehistoric theme park emerges and becomes a huge liability. Dinosaurs live on.

While this may not be happening yet, it's still kind of eerie how scientists have now managed to reactivate cells from a wooly mammoth that has perished over 28,000 years ago. Much like the dino DNA in Jurassic Park was injected into frog egg cells, or oocytes, the nuclei of mammoth cells were injected into the mouse oocytes in a process known as nuclear transfer. They have managed to survive temporarily, which has now proved that the genes of extinct creatures can be reawakened – if only for a moment

A team of Japanese scientists led by biologist Kazuo Yamagata were able to extract viable genetic material form a young female wooly mammoth known as Yuka. She was discovered in 201

0 under the permafrost on the coast of the Dmitry Laptev Strait in the extreme east of Russia. While the corpse was missing many vital bones and organs, there was still enough material in which its genetic code had remained conserved since the last Ice Age.

"Ancient species carry invaluable information about the genetic basis of adaptive evolution and factors related to extinction, "said Yamagata and colleagues in a study recently published in Nature .

Yamagata and his team had previously tried resurrecting mammoth cells before – from a mummified specimen almost half as old as Yuka – but were not successful. Yuka was in such an amazing condition, at least for something that had been languishing in ice for almost thirty centuries, that they were able to extract the nuclei from her muscular tissues and implant them into the mouse oocytes. They turned into zombie cells.

The mammoth cells were unable to divide, which would be vital for producing a mammoth embryo, but it is almost as astonishing that they were still able to make it through some pre-division phases. They have gone as far as spindle assembly, and the process during which the chromosomes are correctly attached to the spindle structures before a cell splits.

Cell division failing on a mummy this pristine raises questions about whether de-extinction (at least of species that won '

"The results presented here clearly show us the de facto impossibility of cloning the mammoth by current [nuclear transfer] technology," Yamagata admitted, but the "approach paves the way for assessing the biological activities of the nuclei in the extinct animal species."

So we might not see any kind of Ice Age Park anytime soon, but bringing back even the cells of creatures that

(via the Motherboard)


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