Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Chinese Scientists Have Restored Cells of the Woolly Mammoth
Chinese scientists claim they have restored the cells of the woolly mammoth that disappeared from the Earth some 4,000 years ago, with the only obstacle being a suitable surrogate.
Xu Xun, chief of BGI, a Chinese genomics institute, told news portal thepaper.cn that there are three steps needed to bring back the mammoth. First you need to restore the animal's cells, then cell functionality to form embryonic cells, and finally find a surrogate body to carry the embryo.
Xu said that although China has already developed the embryonic cells, finding a surrogate to carry the embryo is a difficult task, as the surrogate is likely to reject the embryonic cells and kill them, thepaper.cn reported.
Geneticist Professor George Church and his team at Harvard University have been working for the past two years to recreate the DNA blueprint of the woolly mammoth. His team believes they can recreate a mammoth-elephant hybrid, which would have all the recognizable features of a mammoth, the Telegraph reported Friday.
Yuan Xunlai, a researcher from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said it is impossible to bring back the mammoth, according to science news site stdaily.com. "It's just a proof of concept to revive a mammoth. They can't copy a mammoth from the ice age, but the resurrected animal also couldn't survive in nature," Yuan said.
There are major ethical concerns about attempting to revive extinct animals. Supporters say the genetic technology used will be a breakthrough in biology, but others argue it violates the rules of nature, said thepaper.cn.
While Xu said that the technology of resurrecting extinct animals is significant for preserving biodiversity, it would not be advisable to attempt to resurrect large numbers of extinct animals.
Credit to dailygalaxy.com