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Scientists Hope to Clone Woolly Mammoth

Roblimo posted about 15 years ago | from the now-we-need-a-protohuman-carrying-a-spear dept.

Science 215

&y writes "Yes, and they appear to be serious. Here's a quote from the Seattle Times article: "When asked why scientists are trying to bring back a mammal that lived so long ago, Agenbroad said: 'Why not? I'd rather have a cloned mammoth than another sheep.'" A very convincing argument indeed."

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History of Cloning Wooly Mammoth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643064)

Recommend you look up the April 1984 issue of Technology Review, Pg. 85. Sorry, I don't believe that it's on line.

Also see an article by Reuter, dateline Thursday, September 18 1:48 PM EDT, 1997. I saw it on Yahoo news, at the time. It quickly disappeared.

Re:We already have problems with animals still ali (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643065)

you must realize that woolies were found on one remote island, between russia and the us and japan, to be alive only a few hundered (or was it a 1000), well in any case more recent than when they went missing in north america. So really they are not that fargone extinct. So I'll say go for it. As long as you only put it on some remote island.

Here's your answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643066)

Maybe your house is infested with puppies.

Re:duh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643067)

I don't have much knowledge in biology or ecology...but I think it's probably harder to control the spreading of a new plant rather than a single mammoth. New and unknown plants to a ecosystem are known for causing serious problems all the way up the food chain if unleashed in the wild. They grow where they shouldn't or take over other plants...

Scary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643068)

What a lovely sentiment for a geneticist to mutter. For someone who wields such a powerful tool/weapon it boggles my mind how he could say something so nonchalantly. This is exactly the reason that poeple are so hesitant when it comes to endorsing genetics. You'd think these guys would at least TRY to SOUND responsible, instead of like maniacal scientists bent on godly powertrips and having their 15 minutes of fame.

Lets try a Pterodactylus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643069)

Then we can have some really big eggs for breakfast.

What can we get useful from a woolly mammoth?

Injured software engineer wins again Mattel! [] Ain't that swell?

Call me crazy but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643070)

Don't you find more and more of what you see in movies coming into reality. I really don't think this is a very good idea, this beast is 11 feet tall, which to my calculations will be big enough to kill humans. Why not clone a nice kitty cat or something. It might be boring but I don't see cats taking over the world anytime soon. What's next, dinosaurs? Jurassic park is a MOVIE and should remain that way.

Re:A romantic notion, but it'll never happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643071)

thats what they said about space travel, landing on the moon, etc. Hey, things die, get over it. Survival of the fittest, natural selection. Bring back the woolie..... I wanna ride one.

Re:Call me crazy but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643072)

hey a microbe can kill a human, get real...

Your comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643073)

I find that your words frighten and confuse me. This is to be expected, as I only have a primitive caveman's mind.

Re:A la 'Jurrassic Park'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643074)

They were not well-adapted to human beings, anyway. Read Guns Germs and Steel [] --human beings hunted to extinction most large mammals shortly after colonizing their respective continents. Mammoths included.

Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643075)

We'll take them in the Canadian north and the foothills of the rocky mountains. They were here until a few thousand years ago until hunters killed them off (along with the two-hump camel, etc....)...

no... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643076)

It was killed by hunters in North America... It's pretty clear.

How would you as a primative man coming across the Bering Strait think..."Ooogha...big hunter kill big beast, get big totem for necklace..."

If you think the hunter-gatherers of North America were in tune with nature, you're sorely mistaken. They most likely ran the mammoth off of jumps, similar to buffalo.

where did that story come from... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643077)

I assume you are referring in jest to that 2-bit Creation scientist who claimed that mammoths that had been "quick-frozen" by Noah's flood were in such good condition in the north that they could be served...

Damnit those people piss me off.

Re:Position vacant... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643078)

Cracked it????
They just rebooted the system and it was cracking needed.

Injured software engineer wins against Mattel! [] Ain't that swell?

Re:McDonalds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643079)

It's just a secret plot by McDonalds so they can have a new specialty item:

"The McMammoth"

Just don't ask them to supersize it.

What would the working man do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643080)

Eff-You-See-Kay the ethical dilemmas. I want to sum up my reaction to this by quoting the great Oswald from the Drew Carey show.

Upon being confronted with the horrible vision of the monkapotamus, a hybrid mutant created by the evil corporation the Lewis works for, Oswald had just one thing to say:

"Drew, I'm going to ride him."

Re:Interesting, but it won't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643081)

This is going to sound, well, darned insensitive, but it must be said...

We can barely produce enough food to feed the people we have right now, so, lets find new ways to produce food, before we let more people live, ease their pain, but they are giving their life to cancer or chickenpox, or whatever, so that the rest of us blokes can have dinner.

Re:What's The Effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643082)

Frankly I am devoutly against the blunt nosed ass worm in any way, shape, or form.

Rich people ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643115)

might pay a lot of money to do other things to mammoths than touch their flesh ... mammoth steak anyone ?

Of course, it will be interesting to see whether the newly cloned mammoth will be an endangered species

choice of animal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643116)

this will certainly add alot of knowledge to a whole bunch of scientific fields. for instance, you have paleobiology, paleobotany (presumably, this mammoth will need to eat something), evolutionary mechanics (why was the mammoth deselected?), mammalian biology, etc. this is not to mention areas of science outside of biology such as retrieving the necessary genetic information from dead dna, filling in those gaps (hey fellas, don't use any frog dna please ;-), and other biochemical pursuits.

This is a mistake! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643117)

Wooly mammoths nearly hunted humans to the brink of extinction! This is the last thing we want to do! It was only by raising the temperature of the earth were we able to force them to flee to the outer solar system. If we cloned them, it would be easy for them to establish a base of operations here, from which they would lower the temperature of the earth and then signal for their comrades to return. If these scientists insist on cloning the mammoth, I suggest we all begin practicing our trampoline skills.

only guy on the block (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643118)

Fuck that... *I* want to be the only guy on the block with a pet velociraptor! "Go ahead, pet him... he probably won't kill you"

Disease (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643119)

One thing that popped into my head first thing when I read this article was "What about disease (for mammoths and humans)?" This mammoth was adapted in live with bacteria, viruses, etc. from the world 23,000 years ago; it is very possible it could not survive in the wild today except in a controlled environment because of modern disease. Remember what happened to the Native Americans when the Europeans came with their European disease.

OTOH, the mammoth itself could be a danger to humans for what its body may produce. A bacteria, virus, etc. could infect said mammoth, not effect, but mutate said bacteria/virus/fungus/whatever, infect a human and from there our hypothetical disease would destroy the human race.

Okay, so maybe I'm exagerating a little, but I can't believe no one has taken that into account the possble dangers to the mammoth and the environment it lives in before even considering this cloning experiment. Other than that these potential factors I think this is an interesting idea and I'm interested to see if they have any success.

-Alec C.

Re:A la 'Jurrassic Park'? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 15 years ago | (#1643121)

Actually it was hunted to extinction

Re:Position vacant... (1)

Pathwalker (103) | about 15 years ago | (#1643123)

Because you don't have a SGI with a copy of this program [] .

Unfortunetly, it only works under Irix 5.3 and below, so I can't run it at work.

Could it survive? (2)

nlucent (168) | about 15 years ago | (#1643125)

The article doesnt mention anything about if the animal could survive. When I think of a wooly mammoth I think big hairy elephant that lives in the snow. Would it be able to eat etc? What would the effects of bringing this animal back have on its food source? (i.e What if it eats manatees or some other endangered plant/animal). Haphazardly bringing animals back to life just because it would be cool doesnt sound like a good idea.

What to do about rampage? (1)

chuck (477) | about 15 years ago | (#1643127)

The only problem I see with this is when a herd of wolly mammoths go rogue, there's nothing we'll be able to do to stop them. The only one with that kind of experience is Keerok, and do you think you're going to get him to abandon his law firm to sharpen his spear to save your scrawny ass? I don't think so.

(Damn, I hope someone knows what I'm talking about.)

Playing God (2)

Skyshadow (508) | about 15 years ago | (#1643129)

I dunno. I'm not a religious person -- I don't even really believe in God -- but the idea of playing Him just sort of seems wrong for some reason.

Maybe it just from reading one too many Sci Fi books, but somehow the idea of bringing back an animal that had its chance and went extinct anyhow just seems plain wrong. I can't really intellectualize why it seems wrong, but it does.

Of course, it might just be that my racial memory is urging me to charge the beast and stick a spear into its side....


Re:Playing God (2)

Skyshadow (508) | about 15 years ago | (#1643130)

Ooh, I like that. I think I'm adding it to my rotating .sig


Re:Playing God (2)

HoserHead (599) | about 15 years ago | (#1643133)

That's not a bad question, really. But there's something about playing with life - not just having someone or something's life in your hands, after all then all (carn,omn)ivores would be playing God - but actually creating life that is somehow sacred. For example, I don't think that, given the chance, even the most brilliant geneticist/biologist/etc would want to try to recreate life as it happened on this earth: we couldn't hope to do it better than whatever process brought us here, and would probably fuck it up horribly.

The problem with tinkering with life is that we don't really understand it. Nuclear reactors? sure, we pretty much understand them. The physics of throwing a ball? pretty simple, really, given that you don't want to put relativity into the equation (and who would, on such a short distance?) But Life? That's a bit too steep an order. Whether God caused us to be by sheer force of will, or He caused a comet to crash into the earth carrying amino acids, or whatever happened, God or no, we don't understand the process fully. We couldn't hope to recreate it. It's when you're dealing with things like life and genetics that you start to question why or if you should do certain things.

Takes a lot of biologists to do that (2)

heroine (1220) | about 15 years ago | (#1643134)

Last I heard, the sheep clone began to age prematurely and could not be reproduced in any other experiment. Clones of smaller organisms since 1997 have only come from thousands of failed inoculations. The only improvement they've had is the number of postdocs they can fit into a lab inoculating eggs but the success rate is still 1 in 1000. It's a mindnumbingly tedious way to make a living in which there are more biology PhDs clawing for employment than ever before. Just get an engineering degree and save your sanity.

Re:I wish them luck (2)

Millennium (2451) | about 15 years ago | (#1643142)

It wouldn't help if they were trying to clone a female either. Actually, this isn't going to work out at all, even if they bring one or two back, you can't bring back a whole species without a lot of samples (and I doubt that enough samples of mammoth DNA that are still suitable for cloning are still in existence).

Otherwise, you get massive inbreeding. That would be even more destrictuve to the mammoths than unrestricted hunting would.

this is ver old news. (0)

skyfish (2889) | about 15 years ago | (#1643146)

enough said

Re:Climate? (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 15 years ago | (#1643148)

Well, my experience has been that senators are pretty clueless in a lot of ways, but are quite active. It takes a lot of work to get elected for public office... sadly that work is more or less unrelated to what's required of a senator.

cloning vs. gene expression (1)

Kamikaze (3777) | about 15 years ago | (#1643149)

Hmm..this is interesting. However, in light of what's happening to Dolly the sheep (i.e. premature aging), I'd tend to want to play around more with genetic expression. This, I think, is a more beneficial and/or cool way to spend time and money. This is sort of a lame example, in the sense that it doesn't do anything benificial to the plant, but my biology book has a picture of a plant expressing the firefly's light's a big tobacco plant that's glowing yellow :) Anyway, there are more practical uses for this sort of thing; I know I'd for one like to spend a lot of time manipulating genes that control mental disorders. With only 4 nitrogenous bases in DNA, I can't believe it would be too dificult (once you figured out the respective base sequences) to isolate, say, the depression gene(s) and rearrange their sequences such that you eliminate the genetic predisposition to the depression, and make them immune to chickenpox in the process!

A romantic notion, but it'll never happen (1)

drix (4602) | about 15 years ago | (#1643154)

I'm very taken with the idea of resurrecting the hulking, beautiful creature. But let's be honest with ourselves: this will never happen in an era where we still are losing a couple million a year to AIDS/cancer/Parkinson's/Leukemia. Hell, the US government has even been reluctant to maintain funding on even those vital projects as of late; how many budget spinsters on capitol hill are going to bite for this one? I guess maybe you could find an eccentric philahnthropist to finance it (Nathan Mhyrvold is supposed to be big into paleontology, isn't he?) This is a very Utopian project, one that makes me dream of a day when there is no poverty, disease, war, or any societal problems to worry about and all we have to do is resurrect dinosaurs and woolly mammoths and explore space. Makes you want to live forever, huh?

Re:Interesting, but it won't work (2)

awa (4952) | about 15 years ago | (#1643155)

I guess if it will work or not is just one of the questions that surface. How about: Why do we want to do this? If science _really_ is ready to bring back extint animals, it's a shame it's not focusing all it's efforts (and resources) on not letting people (esp. children, of course) die of chickenpox (or any stupid and easily preventable desease you'd like to imagine). Of course then the question becomes one of social fairness, not science (but someone had to scream "ethics" sooner or later on this thread (right?)).

We already have problems with animals still alive (1)

Decibel (5099) | about 15 years ago | (#1643157)

While I agree that it would be interesting to see what such an animal would look like alive, I can't help but think that the last thing we need to be doing is re-introducing extinct species (which, arguably, are extinct for a good reason) when we can't 'take care of' the animals that already exist on this planet. How many endangered species are there that would not be endangered if not for the actions of man? Instead of trying to clone extinct species (which most likely went extinct due to natural selection), we should worry about preserving what we've already got, and more importantly, work to ensure that the growth of our species doesn't happen at the expense of other species.

Then again, it would be really cool to be the only guy on the block with a wooly mamoth! Hrm... wonder if the village has any laws about that....

Hmmm... (2)

Sontas (6747) | about 15 years ago | (#1643160)

Seems to me that the reason quoted for doing this paticular cloning is just what those against cloning have been saying isn't a good enough reason... ie. We do it because we can. or We do it because we're bored with the old hat sheep cloning thing.

I'm not against cloning, but I tend to agree that the reason that was quoted is simply not good enough. Cloning for the sake of cloning is asking for trouble. Moral and ethical issues aside, the tone of the argument suggests a blatant lack of consideration for the consequences and responsibilities that come along with trying to bring back a long dead creature, such as the mammoth. In the Seatle Times article they follow up the "Why not..." quote with another with another reason, to the effect of trying to find out what happened to the mammoth so we might be able to prevent it from happening to current species. While a more idealisting goal, I suppose, fail to see how the goal would be accomplished by this cloning.

Perhaps the second, more idealistic, reason is good enough. But the owner of the mindset that spawned the first argument probably should not be in the lead on this cloning project, nor any other. But then again neither should I, so who am I to say anything. :)

Bloom County (2)

craw (6958) | about 15 years ago | (#1643161)

Well, this is nothing new. Oliver Wendell Jones (hacker supreme) cloned Bill the Cat using DNA from Bill's tongue.

Oliver may or may not have used his Banana Junior, 6000 Series, 32 bit, 450 KByte, fully portable personal computer (with Bananawrite, Bananadraw, Bananamanager, and Bananafile) in his endeavours.

Remember kids, Gene Simmons never had a personal computer when he was a kid.

I wish them luck (1)

tilly (7530) | about 15 years ago | (#1643164)

It is possible, but not (at this point) very plausible that this will work. After all the technology is still pretty young, the thing has been dead for a long time, and it does not help that they are trying to clone a male.

However this does raise the question of whether or not we should be establishing a bank of samples from endangered species. Even if they go extinct, we could still have the possiblity of bringing them back at some point in the future.

Does anyone know of any efforts along this direction?


It does matter - see the article (2)

tilly (7530) | about 15 years ago | (#1643165)

The expert they were quoting pointed out that cloning success rates are higher with females than males. The individual they are working with is male.


This is one of the.. (2)

Thrakkerzog (7580) | about 15 years ago | (#1643166)

This is one of the [many] things we learned not to do from the fine documentary Jurassic Park.

Re:Cool! (1)

revnight (8980) | about 15 years ago | (#1643169)

actually, it should be a pretty good test. if it comes out hairy, and grows to be 1.5 the size of a modern elephant, then there won't be much doubt about whether it worked or not.

the similarities between the elephant/mammoth should benefit the young mammoth, i would think, but shouldn't contaminate the young'n enough to raise much question about whether or not the experiment worked...scientists and journalists will just have to turn to other aspects of the experiment to flame each other over.

Re:duh. (1)

revnight (8980) | about 15 years ago | (#1643170)

cause confused elephants are dangerous elephants?


Re:duh. (2)

scrytch (9198) | about 15 years ago | (#1643171)

> My thinking is that they died out for a reason, and they'll die out again

It seems most likely they were hunted to extinction. They'd die out again now because there simply isn't enough gene stock for them to survive. That and it's just not cold where elephants would tend to feed now.

they have close relatives... (1)

Barbarian (9467) | about 15 years ago | (#1643172)

The modern elephant is really close to the Wooly mammoth. They even are wooly when born.

Re:Playing God (1)

Razor Blue (11085) | about 15 years ago | (#1643174)

I think it is past time for us to grow up as a race and realize that in many ways we ARE gods, with all the possibility for good and bad, and all the commensurate responsibility held solely by us. There is nothing inherently wrong with evolving. Razor

Razor Blue, TechnoMage
shackled to tranquility / silenced for eternity / four walls no windows / in your bounding box

Re:Call me crazy but... (1)

UnkyHerb (12862) | about 15 years ago | (#1643179)

Your crazy. How about we just clone dirt?, that'd be loads of fun, heh. I agree with the movie part too, ever see that movie with the giant killer rabbits that eat people?....Just last week I saw one! Luckily I got away before it ate me!

Moral (2)

UnkyHerb (12862) | about 15 years ago | (#1643180)

For those of you who think that we shoudln't "toy with god's plan"....I have a comment. A lot of extinct animals are extinct because we killed them, I don't see how bringing something back that we killed would be bad. And if there is a god, and he has a plan, no one knows what it is, so would this post be violating "god's plan"? Makes you think doesn't it? It's not like were making 200 woolies anyway, it's just one, so go complain about the killing and extinction of current animals, and stop bitching about bringing some back.

Re:Position vacant... (1)

xrayspx (13127) | about 15 years ago | (#1643182)


Re:Climate? (2)

kevlar (13509) | about 15 years ago | (#1643183)

A better question is why the hell are there pengiuns in the Central Park Zoo?

My guess is that, since they are mammals, and thus warm blooded animals, that there is a certain threshold in which they can live.

Re:Playing God (1)

Dredd13 (14750) | about 15 years ago | (#1643185)

I'm not a god, I just play one in the lab.

Re:We already have problems with animals still ali (2)

Dredd13 (14750) | about 15 years ago | (#1643187)

How many endangered species are there that would not be endangered if not for the actions of man? Instead of trying to clone extinct species (which most likely went extinct due to natural selection)...

A couple reality checks for you...

1. The Wooly Mammoth is extinct by the hand of man. Early man hunted the mammoth to extinction in a manner almost exactly the same as what we have done to several whale species.

2. Kindly define for me - in logical terms - the difference between "natural selection" and "destroyed by man". Man (homo sapiens) is an animal just like any other, and a very vicious predatorial one at that. Just as the wolf's superiority might lead to one of its prey's extinction while another (more adaptable) prey might survive, there are no animals that have become extinct for any reason other than Natural Selection. If man (the top of the food chain) changed their environment, and they were unable to adapt to the polluted environment, that's natural selection. If man hunted the whales to the brink of extinction because the whales couldn't figure out NOT to swim near the whaling boats, that's natural selection.

I can certainly understand your point, but you also have to realize that natural selection encompasses ANY reason a species goes extinct. Whether it is a predator hunting them down or an inability to cope with a changing environment, a species will either adapt itself (as many species have) or it will become extinct. To say that one species deserves "protection" over another is simply wrong. They are all equally extinct (or endangered).

Re:duh. (1)

Fizgig (16368) | about 15 years ago | (#1643190)

Are you more likely to get something medicinally useful from a given plant than from a given animal? I though the only reason so many medicines come from plants is because there are so many more of them and they move a lot less.

My thinking is that they died out for a reason, and they'll die out again (especially if there is only one!)

Wait a second--you can't clone a plant like this. So far as I know, this process only works for mammals, since they gestate in a womb.

Climate? (1)

ntropy (17310) | about 15 years ago | (#1643192)

Where can a Wolly Mammoth even live? Arent they strictly cold weather animals?

Re:Climate? (2)

Anonymous Shepherd (17338) | about 15 years ago | (#1643193)

Um. How about Canada? Or Siberia?

As long as they have enough to form a herd, and wolves aren't too big a threat. Wherever Moose live, I guess, you could put a Wooly Mammoth.


Cool! (3)

Anonymous Shepherd (17338) | about 15 years ago | (#1643194)

Yeah! Who wants a stupid sheep when we could get a Wooly Mammoth?

But if that's the case, we could also clone rhinos and elephants and other rare/endangered species, right?

However, the shortened teleomeres thing might put a damper on things. Also the fact that we need to take into account the 1 successful birth out of like 11 successful implantations out of 200 eggs created out of like 1000 attempts, or whatever the astronomical odds are.

Plus, are we just going to use elephants as hosts?

What about genetic incompatibility or contamination? Elephant antibodies and such?


Re:Playing God (2)

rde (17364) | about 15 years ago | (#1643195)

Where does science end and playing god begin? If a surgeon cuts a tumour -- a natural occurance -- out of a body, is he acting god? What about the Wright brothers? Neil Armstrong?
Every time a technological advance comes along, it can (and usually is) viewed by some people as 'playing god'.

Re:Position vacant... (1)

Imperator (17614) | about 15 years ago | (#1643196)

Actually, that's a good example of why security through obscurity doesn't work. Think what would have happened if they hadn't even had the source code available!

I'd call it... (1)

Imperator (17614) | about 15 years ago | (#1643197)

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

2 isn't enough (2)

Imperator (17614) | about 15 years ago | (#1643198)

Disclaimer: I'm not terribly knowledgeable about this.

Having two mammoths isn't enough to sustain a reproducing population. The bare minimum amount of unique genomes necessary to breed a single baby mammoths (from two mammoths) is 1, and it must be male so that you have a Y chromosome. However, the offspring will be inbred, and suffer from all sorts of horrible problems such that they are unlikely to reach the age of reproduction. Even if you have two unique mammoth genomes, the second generation will inbreed.

The figure I seem to remember for mammals is 500 unique genomes to sustain a population, and that's really the minimum. For a species that's been extinct for tens of thousands of years, I'd guess we'd need much more than that. The wider the gene pool, the more likely that natural selection will be able to pick genes that might have been rare at the time, but now would be helpful to our woolly friends.

So in other words, a single mammoth might be a neat little trick, and we might learn something from it, but don't expect to see them wandering in your national park of choice any time soon.

Re:lets clone jesus (3)

Imperator (17614) | about 15 years ago | (#1643199)

I'd like to suggest cloning a Dust Puppy. This would have many practical advanatages:
- code AIs for you
- fun at lan parties (plays a mean game of Quake)
- gets along well with sentient computers and RPN calculators
- doesn't like sushi

Re:Playing God (2)

William Wallace (18863) | about 15 years ago | (#1643204)

"...but actually creating life that is somehow sacred."

Unless you define your god as "a fertile female,"
then I don't know how you can seriously claim your
god creates life. Or have you recently found even
a single shred of proof to back your claims up
about the origin of life?

I'm not trying to start a religious flame war
again, but in one corner we have some facts, and
in the other corner we've got some books written
by religious (not scientific) people thousands of
years ago and transcribed/translated a million
times throughout the years.

You're entitled to your opinions, and you're
entitled not to mess with genetics if you don't
want to, but why would you think it's OK to
impose your beliefs against geneticism in order
to prevent SOMEONE ELSE from working on it? Are
you afraid your god will punish you for what
someone else is doing?

While you may consider genetics "playing god,"
I merely consider it another scientific step
towards understanding the origin of life and how
the universe works.

"The problem with tinkering with life is that we don't really understand it."

Duh! That's the whole point of these experiments
with genetics ... to learn more. Humans are
constantly striving to learn more, even about
taboo subjects. I remember a few years ago, some
guy named Galileo was persecuted for his
scientific beliefs and discoveries, because they
were taboo. Today, most of us laugh at the fools
in the Church that condemned him for claiming the
Earth was not the center of the universe. I'd say
your frame of reference is a bit too biased if you
can't see the parallel here.

That's the problem with the world today ... the
people trying to impose "morality" usually have
limited perspectives.

Personally, I'd rather learn as much as I can
while I've still got another 50 good years left
on this Pale Blue Dot.

You may enjoy standing scared in the dark, but
I'd prefer we light the candle of science whenever


(Cool, two Sagan references in one post.)

Once there was a time when religion ruled the world.

Japanese Radiation Leak is cloning opportunity (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 15 years ago | (#1643206)

What I want to know is what monsters are going to re-appear after this latest Japanese radiation leak. Mothra? Godzilla? Gamera? Ghidorah? Gyaos? Rhodan?

When that happens we can clone something REALLY impressive.

What's The Effect? (3)

Coda (22101) | about 15 years ago | (#1643208)

If we start bringing back extinct species, what will happen to our outlook on extinction. We're pretty damn conscienceless when it comes to wiping species off the face of the earth. If we can bring them back at will, will we kill off even more species?

"Oh, go ahead and chop down the forest. We've got DNA samples of just about everything here..."

And then of course, who's going to bring back the ugly stuff? It's find and dandy to bring back the dodo, the spotted-buffeted snow pika, etc. Are we going to bring back the blunt-nosed, slime-covered ass worm once we kill it off? Or are we going to stick solely with creatures that look cute?

While this is an interesting science experiment, I think the resources could be better applied: Oct. 12th is Six Billion People Day. In 1960 we had 3 billion. We've doubled in 40 years. Better, cheaper, safer contraceptives would make the world a better place. Wooly mammoths would make one zoo a lot of money.

Let's try to keep things in perspective here.

Re:We already have problems with animals still ali (1)

nufan (26081) | about 15 years ago | (#1643210)

Amen. It's called Natural Selection... not Natural Preservation. You think any of the species that've gone extinct woulda thought twice about taking us out?

Re:Climate? (2)

ZenBoy (32003) | about 15 years ago | (#1643212)

Why are there polar bears in California? Penguins in Arizona? Why are there Senators in cold climates, you'd assume that they'd merely become sedentary and have to bask on rocks all day.

Re:Interesting, but it won't work (3)

Breace (33955) | about 15 years ago | (#1643214)

Of course, they could just fill in those gaps with DNA from frogs...

Well, a Mammoth that can leap two and a half miles? Sounds like the people in Siberia better get their roofs strengthend.


Re:duh. (1)

miahrogers (34176) | about 15 years ago | (#1643215)

plus if you only have one wolly mammoth it can't reproduce.
char *stupidsig = "this is my dumb sig";

duh. (2)

Zurk (37028) | about 15 years ago | (#1643217)

why dont they resurrect plants first ? I would think the medicinal value (more drugs etc) of plants which are extinct far outweighs the benefits of cloning a mammal or a dino.

Re:Pot Belly Pig + Wooly Mamoth (2)

schuster (39361) | about 15 years ago | (#1643219)

I don't think so, haven't you hear that song "You Can't Splice Wooly Mamoth and Pot Belly Pig DNA"? If you want to try to get them in the mood, go ahead. I shudder to think of the amount of booze a wooly mamoth could hold though and I shudder even more when I think of what happens when it all comes back up.

Re:We already have problems with animals still ali (2)

Hobbex (41473) | about 15 years ago | (#1643220)

What exactly qualifies as a good reason to be extinct? Climate change? Having your food and or area taken over by another animal?

What is the difference in whether that animal is man or some shitty rodant that started eating your eggs or another predator that was simply better than you?

The whole guilt issue over extinction caused by man is really just another ego trip trying to justify us feeling special and different in some way. Well we are not: we are just another element of nature, playing its game like a million species before us.

Its a shame when an animal goes extinct because there is much we can learn from, and of, that animal. This goes for any extinction - naked monkeys involved or not.

/. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.

Position vacant... (3)

Hobbex (41473) | about 15 years ago | (#1643221)

So, fellow /.-ers, do we hear any takers for the position of computer nerd who builds system only he can manage and then sells everyone out only to be killed by a rather small acid spitting woolly mamoth?

On the bright side you get to work in a cool 3D GUI and you can write code so sloppy that an eight year old kid can crack it!

/. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.

Not a good argument. (1)

cmc (44956) | about 15 years ago | (#1643223)

It seems to be more of a bad argument. It's a lot like "Why would you bring home a puppy when you can bring home a ravenous death plant?"

Re:Here's your answer (1)

cmc (44956) | about 15 years ago | (#1643224)

Perhaps, but then you'd just get no pet instead of the ravenous death plant. Is there a problem with sheep overpopulation in the world?

Save the Spices! (1)

ASCIIMan (47627) | about 15 years ago | (#1643226)

Think how bland our food would be without any spices!!!

Re:Takes a lot of biologists to do that (1)

quadong (52475) | about 15 years ago | (#1643228)

So it's hard, so what? Scientific advances are not made by people unwilling to try and retry experiments. I think that if this suceeds, the result will be cool enough to make up for all the time spent.

Re:Rich people ... (1)

quadong (52475) | about 15 years ago | (#1643229)

"Of course, it will be interesting to see whether the newly cloned mammoth will be an endangered species"

Um, is this an attempt at humor? Of course it will be endangered. There will only be one!

Re:this is verY old news. (1)

quadong (52475) | about 15 years ago | (#1643230)

No it is not enough said. Point us to an older article or don't waste space on the comments page.

Re:Position vacant... (1)

vectro (54263) | about 15 years ago | (#1643234)

The thing I want to know, is how come my UNIX box dosen't have a cool 3D GUI like that?

The pleasure of wool (1)

Lucius Lucanius (61758) | about 15 years ago | (#1643235)

"Yeah! Who wants a stupid sheep when we could get a Wooly Mammoth?"

I think you underestimate this naughty, lovable creature. Here, I present to you the most articulate explanation of why sheep is the Ultimate Mammal(TM)

I sincerely hope your views will undergo a profound change.

Thank you.


Re:A la 'Jurrassic Park'? (3)

Cuthalion (65550) | about 15 years ago | (#1643238)

The only ethical problem I see with this (assuming it works) is that they'll have created an animal that they don't really know how to care for very well.

Does this really affect anything? Maybe we'll learn more about mammoths. What harm could it do? Well, the worst thing that seems likely to happen is that we make a unhealthy and unhappy mammoth, which would be unfortunate, but doesn't seem inherently evil to RISK that fate.

For whatever reason mammoths died out, I don't think it makes a big difference. We're not restoring their species or anything - one specimen would hardly be adequate to repopulate anything, you need at least two (for mammals). I don't really think that matters though. If they died out because they're ill-adapted, it's going to be expensive to keep them alive. If they think it's worth it, I don't object to them expending their resources on this project.

Pot Belly Pig + Wooly Mamoth (2)

[kilroy] (68846) | about 15 years ago | (#1643241)

If we can clone a Wooly Mamoth why cant we cross the DNA of a Pot Belly Pig and a Wooly Mamoth and get a Pot Belly Mamoth! Muhahaha! And better yet give it 2 asses!

Re:This is a mistake! (1)

Ender_the_Xenocide (71196) | about 15 years ago | (#1643247)

You've been reading _Footfall_, haven't you?

Re:Playing God (1)

Ender_the_Xenocide (71196) | about 15 years ago | (#1643248)

>I'm not a god, I just play one in the lab.

But if somebody /asks/ you if you're a god, you say "yes", right?

Re:We already have problems with animals still ali (1)

Evil Pete (73279) | about 15 years ago | (#1643249)

Although we already have a lot of animals that need help now it certainly wouldn't hurt to bring back a member of the megafauna. There aren't very many large land mammals left. Funny that most of them went extinct as homo sapiens experienced its first interglacial ? I think it is a reasonable possibility that humans had some hand in the original extinction of the mammoth, bringing them back could then be considered retroactive rescue attempt.

Besides nothing much lives in the tundra areas even now. I'm sure the native people of those areas wouldn't mind the extra tourism.

The reality is however, that even considering the rapid freezing there is bound to be considerable genetic damage.

A la 'Jurrassic Park'? (1)

The Hooloovoo (78790) | about 15 years ago | (#1643250)

I think the question isn't "could we?", but "should we?". Coolness (pun intended) factor aside, this sounds like a pretty bad idea to me. This wasn't an animal that was killed off by greedy industries polluting its habitat, or by villainous poachers killing it for it's gallbladder, etc., but an animal that died out naturally. I think we should leave it that way.

Re:Climate? (1)

mistalinux (78981) | about 15 years ago | (#1643251)

Read the article, it says it will be living at a park in Siberia, Russia.

Re: do you have dna samples of plants that cure (1)

TummyX (84871) | about 15 years ago | (#1643254)

cancer or anything for that matter?

They have dna from wooley mammoths cause some were frozen.

Re:A romantic notion, but it'll never happen (2)

Geraint (85162) | about 15 years ago | (#1643255)

I admire the sentiments, but you're a bit misinformed about the funding priorities of the US goverment.

In 1999 the National Institutes of Health received a *15* percent budget increase by $2 billion to $15.6 billion. The requested increase for 2000 is 'only' 2.1 percent but the chair of the House subcommittee that funds NIH was quoted as saying he intended to keep NIH on course to double its budget over five years (Nature 03-04-1999, sorry no URL with free access.)

R&D expenditure in the US on biomedical science is already twice that (per capita) in Europe and rising still faster. At least the NIH have their priorities right - maybe Europeans should follow suit?

Re:duh. (1)

nix99 (85909) | about 15 years ago | (#1643256)

Because if they did that they would run the risk of the plant getting out and destroying the plants that we have now. Think of what happens when someone brings a plant in from out of country, it takes over everything (sometimes). All that would have to happen is have a seed slip out and we are screwed. The offspring of a Wooly Mamath are somewhat larger and harder to loose track of.

/. all rolled up in one (2)

Money__ (87045) | about 15 years ago | (#1643259)


I bet the black helicopters are behind this. The big Wolly Mamouth, Mr. Shufulufagas, comes to visit cute little school kids and out pops drunken waco ATF agents, smoking Ruby Ridge cigars, and HRF gun the local school LAN.


I bet Bill Gates is behind all this. Wolly 1.0b is just vaporware to mask that fact the Micros~1 doesn't have coherant software service portal stratagy.


I hear Linus is going to incoporate OpenWolly in 2.3 ;)

Re:Interesting, but it won't work (2)

MDX-F1 (87940) | about 15 years ago | (#1643260)

If science _really_ is ready to bring back extint animals, it's a shame it's not focusing all it's efforts (and resources) on not letting people (esp. children, of course) die of chickenpox (or any stupid and easily preventable desease you'd like to imagine).

Yes, but different scientists always have and always will focus on different things. I understand what you're saying, but you can apply this to any situation, such as "Why do we waste money on a space program when we don't have a cure for AIDS?" I don't think you can really look at scientists as a monolithic group who would be better off if they all focused on one problem at a time.

Prevention vs. Reversal (2)

Bo'Bob'O (95398) | about 15 years ago | (#1643268)

I heard of a similar project before for Tasmanian wolves, and that particular article brought up a good point. Why spend all this money on the possibility of bringing back one species, on a limited basses, instead of putting that money into saving many of the spices we already have that are near extinction? I mean it's pretty much common sense that saving a spices that already exists is going to cost less than a spices already dead, and that kind of money could go a long way for that cause.

I guess, like a certain Spealberg movie mentioned here a few times before, it's purely capitalistic. They care nothing about what they are doing and just want to make money.

Specialty Restaurant (1)

dyslexia (96008) | about 15 years ago | (#1643269)

Just think of the commercial possibilities of a restaurant featuring the meat of an extinct species. Now if i can just get Dodo eggs for breakfast......

Interesting, but it won't work (3)

MaximumBob (97339) | about 15 years ago | (#1643270)

It's an interesting idea, and there's no good reason not to do it, but it won't work. cloned animals tend to show a lot of genetic defects in the first place. An animal that has been dead this long, even frozen, has almost certainly taken some genetic damage. That could only magnify the problems that exist with cloning live animals.

Of course, they could just fill in those gaps with DNA from frogs...

Re:Cool! (1)

gargle (97883) | about 15 years ago | (#1643272)

It sounds like a bad idea to use elephants as hosts. Mammoths and elephants are probably sufficiently alike so that in the case of contamination, it'll be difficult to tell how much elephant and how much mammoth the creature is?

McMammoth burgers (2)

e2gle (97925) | about 15 years ago | (#1643273)

I can't wait till we start mass producing these bad boys. Imagine all the new products! McMammoth burgers, Mammoth leather jackets, Mammoth fur coats, carved Mammoth tusks, the "new Buick LeSabre, with all Mammoth interior", the list is endless. I can't wait for the circus to come to town and have mammoth rides for the kiddies. And I really want a lucky mammoth foot key chain.
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