July 31, 2013

Cloning Mammoths is Harder than You Think

Woolly mammoth left, American mastodon right (Wikipedia).
As much as I cherish the idea of a "Pleistocene Park" with woolly mammoths wandering around, the lack of good cellular material is a huge obstacle.

In a Guardian article, Sir Ian Wilmut of Dolly the sheep fame describes the problems.
Though it is unlikely that a mammoth could be cloned in the same way as Dolly, more modern techniques that convert tissue cells into stem cells could potentially achieve the feat, Wilmut says in an article today for the academic journalism website, The Conversation.
"I've always been very sceptical about the whole idea, but it dawned on me that if you could clear the first hurdle of getting viable cells from mammoths, you might be able to do something useful and interesting," Wilmut told the Guardian.
 First we get mammoths (or mastodons), then we get them to eat tamarisk.


Unknown said...

What caliber for mammoth?

Chas S. Clifton said...

It will be catch-and-release at first, I expect.