To see the mammoth: prehistoric animals will be able to clone

© Illustration RIA Novosti . Alina Polyanina, Depositphotos, СС0Мамонт in the tundraTo see the mammoth: prehistoric animals will be able to clone© Illustration RIA Novosti . Alina Polyanina, Depositphotos, СС0Подпишись to daily updates RIA Science

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MOSCOW, July 13 — RIA Novosti, Alfia Enikeeva. Technology of cloning, DNA sequencing and cell reprogramming make it possible to resurrect extinct species. RIA Novosti says how far technology has advanced, why it is still not cloned a mammoth, and who scientists are going to revive in the future.

In March, when he died last male Northern white Rhino named Sudan, experts said that in the near future, these animals will disappear forever, because in the world there are only two individuals — the females Najin and Fatu. However, recently reported: the population can recover. Using the latest reproductive technologies to the European biologists have created a hybrid embryo by combining the sperm, taken three years ago from Sudan, with the eggs of his usual African relatives.

Now scientists are going to take eggs from two females and to have a purebred embryos. Bear cubs are likely to be surrogate mother from the South African population of white rhinos. Therefore, the Northern subspecies to recover, biologists believe.

What ne xwatet dLa fromthe hasty totonirovania

To resurrect other extinct species so quickly. Cloning by classical technology when the egg is inserted into the nucleus of a living cell, it is impossible. In the soft tissues of mammoths, very well preserved (discovered mostly in Yakutia), no cells. Moreover, even in ideal storage conditions of permafrost cells, and hence DNA are destroyed.

According to experts, already using 158 thousand years after the death of the animal half of the bonds between the nitrogenous bases of its DNA will be broken. That is why, for example, you cannot clone naticia dinosaurs, which became extinct in the late Cretaceous period (about 65 million years ago). Their DNA destroyed, and the proteins extracted from the bones of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and brachylophosaurus and even partially decoded, not suitable for cloning of these prehistoric giants.


Nevertheless, for two decades there is talk about the resurrection of the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius). Paleontologists often found intact soft tissue areas of these animals. Reported even that discovered the blood of mamontiha, but, unfortunately, further tests proved that only interstitial fluid.

In 2011, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania reconstructed the DNA of a mammoth 70 percent, and in 2015 their colleagues from Harvard University moved the 14 genes of a prehistoric animal alive in a cage Asian elephant. Using CRISPR/CAS, scientists have inserted into the genome of the cells of the skin of the elephant genes responsible for small ears, thick subcutaneous fat layer and long fur.

However, many experts are skeptical. It will not a mammoth, and intergeneric hybrid (modern elephants and ancient mammoths — distant relatives). Such hybrids are generally unsustainable. Only one known precedent. Cub born at Chester zoo in 1978 from the Asian elephant and the African elephant, lived for only 12 days.

Ancient cave lions

From cave lion (Panthera leo spelaea) is more likely. If his nuclear DNA rekonstruiruet, it will attempt to introduce into the genome of the modern African lion. And they are from prehistoric cave cat fairly close relatives — much closer than mammoths and Asian elephants. According to the latest figures, cave lions may be a subspecies of modern lions (Panthera leo).

Biological material for the reconstruction of the DNA of the prehistoric cats is more than enough. In Yakutia in 2015 and 2017 found three cave lions. Two bodies had been preserved, one without hind legs. While the scientists ‘ efforts were not crowned with success, the preservation of the remains was insufficient, and the researchers were able to distinguish only fragments of DNA.

Evolutionary biologist and ecologist Ben Novak from independent research organization Revive & Restore by 2025 is going to give a second life to a wandering pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius). The last representative of this species that existed in the days of mammoths (the most ancient remains of these birds, hundreds of thousands of years), died in 1914.

Biologists from the laboratory of systems University of California Santa Cruz, collaborating with Revive & Restore, identified and partially decoded the nuclear DNA from the four surviving pigeon carcasses and mitochondrial DNA from 41 sample. So Novak has something to work with.

On the reconstruction and DNA sequencing of the Mauritius Dodo, or the Dodo (Raphus cucullatus), extinct in the late seventeenth century, working an international team of scientists led by Professor of evolutionary biology at Oxford University Beth Shapiro. DNA was partially restored and collate with DNA from living relatives — ruffed pigeons (Сaloenas nicobarica).


© CC BY 2.0 / Federico Movie the Dodo, or Dodo, became extinct in the late XVII century. Scientists hope to resurrect it in the futureTo see the mammoth: prehistoric animals will be able to clone© CC BY 2.0 / Federico Movie the Dodo, or Dodo, became extinct in the late XVII century. Scientists hope to resurrect it in the future


And yet to decipher the genome is one thing, but to find the whole kernel with unbroken chromosomes — is quite another. Therefore, many do not share the enthusiasm of the supporters of the idea of resurrection of extinct animals. In addition, the restoration and maintenance of populations in the wild will cost dearly. Scientists from the University of Ontario indicate that the choice in favor of the mammoth and other ancient animals would be fatal to many of today’s endangered species, as resources for environmental preservation and the other is not enough.