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Echoes and Mirrors» Blog Archive » Mammoth Burgers

Mammoth Burgers

Extinct Goat Resurrected:

The Pyrenean ibex, a form of wild mountain goat, was officially declared extinct in 2000 when the last-known animal of its kind was found dead in northern Spain.

Shortly before its death, scientists preserved skin samples of the goat, a subspecies of the Spanish ibex that live in mountain ranges across the country, in liquid nitrogen.

Using DNA taken from these skin samples, the scientists were able to replace the genetic material in eggs from domestic goats, to clone a female Pyrenean ibex, or bucardo as they are known. It is the first time an extinct animal has been cloned.

Sadly, the newborn ibex kid died shortly after birth due to physical defects in its lungs. Other cloned animals, including sheep, have been born with similar lung defects.

But the breakthrough has raised hopes that it will be possible to save endangered and newly extinct species by resurrecting them from frozen tissue.

It has also increased the possibility that it will one day be possible to reproduce long-dead species such as woolly mammoths and even dinosaurs.

Ok, that’s some fine Science Journalism right there. They technically birthed this creature, but didn’t really succeed. The actual success rate of cloning these beasts is in the thousands to one (most fail as embryos, no big deal). What strikes me is how they go from a goat that went extinct eight years ago (and they have a good DNA sample of) to dinosaurs -creatures that we don’t have good samples to clone from and died out before man even existed. If they fill in the gaps that are missing, how can they be sure they’re even close to replicating what is missing? Maybe it’s worth a shot. Those Dinosaur-bird things on the Discovery Channel are awesome!

But attempts to bring back species such as woolly mammoths and even the Dodo are fraught with difficulties. Even when preserved in ice, DNA degrades over time and this leaves gaps in the genetic information required to produce a healthy animal.

Truth. We do not have the templates from which to produce more of these beasts. I enjoyed Jurassic Park, too, and while I’m keen on the idea of a Mammoth Burger (am I right, or am I right?) I don’t think that bringing these things back is a good idea. I’m kinda torn on this, actually; I want to see dinosaurs.

Scientists, however, last year published a near-complete genome of the woolly mammoth, which died out around 10,000 years ago, sparking speculation it will be possible to synthesise the mammoth DNA.

A number of projects around the world are now attempting to store tissue and DNA from endangered species. The Zoological Society of London and the Natural History Museum have set up the Frozen Ark project in a bid to preserve DNA from thousands of animals before they disappear entirely.

I am pretty fucking excited about those Mammoth Burgers now. Let’s get to it?

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