What pitfalls must be overcome when cloning mammoths

Ever since Dolly the Sheep was cloned, the public has often wondered if it could be used to return an already extinct species to the wild. Of course, the movie “Jurassic Park” has contributed to this, but even the public knows that obtaining dinosaur DNA is much more difficult than suggested in the movie.

The question, however, is whether it is possible to clone an animal whose body is in very good condition after many years. Mammoths are a classic example of this, as they lived in what is now the tundra, and the frost preserved their bodies well. So obtaining the genes should not be a problem. So why have they not yet been cloned?

typický srstnatý mamut

It is mainly because there are several obstacles. The main one is the fact that although frost certainly keeps cells in good condition in the long run, it also destroys DNA. Thus, it is certainly not in good enough condition to be used in most cases.

Another factor is finding a woman carrying a fetus. The closest living relative considered today is the Indian elephant. However, we have no idea how the fetus will affect the mother or whether she will be able to carry it. And given that the gestation period of elephants (and perhaps mammoths) is about two years, it is clearly too long to take chances.

kostra mamuta

Of course, it is possible to “add” mammoth genes to elephant embryos. This would create a sort of elephant-mammoth mix, which would make it easier for the female to give birth. But again, no one knows if such a fetus would be viable.Indeed, there is some discussion about the possibility of using larger, stronger African elephants as surrogate mothers, but these are genetically further away from mammoths than Indian elephants (which are actually more closely related to mammoths than African elephants), not to mention their more aggressive nature.Thus, it is clear that there are enough problems, and given the time it will take, no one would embark on such a project without considerable assurance that it will succeed. And we haven\’t got it yet.

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