Saturday, March 8, 2014

DNews on mammoth de-extinction

It's time for another installment of the de-extinction saga.  This time, it's Discovery News asking Are We Finally Ready To Clone A Mammoth?

Everyone keeps asking scientists when they're going to clone a woolly mammoth. It's not the easiest thing to do, but they are working on it! Trace is here to discuss with you how we're planning on bringing back extinct animals, and how recent discoveries are helping this process.
As I noted in a comment over on DNews's YouTube channel, there are three inaccuracies in both the text and visuals.  First, the extinct animals shown look more like mastodons than mammoths.  Second, mammalian red blood cells have no nuclei or mitochondria, so they have no DNA to clone.  However, the white blood cells do, which is where DNA could be found.  Third, the preponderance of evidence supports mammoths being more closely related to Asian elephants than African elephants, so an Asian elephant would make for a better surrogate mother.  Besides, Asian elephants are easier to handle, which makes them more convenient to use even in the case when African and Asian elephants are equally closely related to mammoths.

Other than that, good video.

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