Saturday, November 22, 2008

cool and a little bit creepy

The Times today had a fascinating story today on regenerating a mammoth, ala Jurassic Park, for a measly $10 million. Using DNA extracted from mammoth hair, who knew that museums and other places are holding mounds of hair- ew, scientists can reconstruct the mammoth dna. They say that most of the old problems with resurecting an extinct species have pretty much lifted in the last couple of years.
1- they can now abstract from hair, instead of bone which is tainted with bacteria
2. they have sequencers which can use the broken dna strains (they used to need full strains to reconstruct one)
3. they wouldn't have to grow the embyo from scratch.
here's where the creepiness sets in. they take a similar species, say in this case an elephant, and one by one, switch the differences in the dna strain. there are only 400,000 differences in a mammoth and an elephant. a new process may allow them to change 50,000 at a time. then an elephant could be implanted with the mutated elephant/mammoth egg.

super scifi: they can use the same process on neanderthals. and while there might be some "moral" issue with mutating a human egg, scientists note that chimps are 96% close to us. enough to use chimp dna and make a chimp-neanderthal hybrid! gross

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails