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Wooly mammoth genome sequenced. Can mammoth de-extinction happen?

Discussion in 'Wildlife & Nature Conservation' started by DavidBrown, 24 Apr 2015.

  1. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Moderator Staff Member

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    An entire wooly mammoth genome has been sequenced. Scientists are contemplating creating a mammoth-Asian elephant hybrid to try and perform "de-extinction" of wooly mammoths. The science and ethical issues of de-extinction of mammoths is discussed in this article from the Washington Post.

    In 10 or 20 years will we be arguing for real about what zoo has the best mammoth exhibit on this discussion board, not just in the fantasy zoo forum?

    ‘De-extinction’ of the wooly mammoth: A step closer - The Washington Post
     
  2. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    I haven't read the article, but it seems to me that in this day and age where climate change and global warming are two of the biggest international issues facing the planet, that the first species we try to re-create this way is one that is adapted to live in a cold environment.

    :p

    Hix
     
  3. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    From what I've read about the Siberian Pleistocene Park, it seems that the reintroduction of the mega herbivores has had a dramatic impact on the health of the permafrost in a good way. The animals keep the permafrost healthy, so it would seem that mammoths would expedite this process. Healthy permafrost would go a long way in battling climate change.
     
  4. Thaumatibis

    Thaumatibis Well-Known Member

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    I'd feel better if they tried to clone Javan rhinos or Swinhoe's softshell turtles than mammoths. Why don't we stop species going extinct in the first place? It's much easier than cloning them back.

    ~ Thaumatibis
     
  5. savethelephant

    savethelephant Well-Known Member

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    I am sure this will happen but should it happen. In my opinion "no "because man didn't kill out this beautiful animal, nature did. Now if they were doing the thylacine (which I am sure they will do eventually too) I would say go right ahead because it was a man made extinction. And I also agree with Thaumatibis's thought.
    Just my opinion
     
  6. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Moderator Staff Member

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    The verdict is still out, but humans likely did kill off most of the mammoths, if not all of them.
     
  7. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    Eh, it's very much up for debate. Killing such large animals is difficult even with modern technology. I'm not speaking from personal experience or anything, but killing an elephant with sticks and rocks isn't easy.
     
  8. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I don't know why the topic of using cloning to help endangered species doesn't get discussed more. A big issue with endangered species is the small gene pool. Even if a captive breeding program is successful, inbreeding can become an issue. But say we could get DNA samples from museum specimens or even trophies. Increase genetic diversity and even bring back genes that might have disappeared in the population.

    But as someone else pointed out on this site, cloning a mammoth is going to get more attention and publicity, and might make it easier to fund future cloning efforts.
     
  9. Pleistohorse

    Pleistohorse Well-Known Member

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    I'd say it is highly likely Humans finished them off. The populations on Wrangel and the Pribolof's may have been suffering from marginal habitat and very small populations...but men arriving on boats sealed deal I'd guess. Much like
    What happened to the Stellar's Sea Cows. I'm sure there were other factors...ironically maybe the species scarcity lead to the loss of their habitat...much like a diminished farmer population would lead to a loss of cultivated lands...there were not enough
    Mammoths to maintain the Steppe. If we can produce a cold tolerant, tundra loving elephant...we should.
     
  10. Elephas Maximus

    Elephas Maximus Well-Known Member

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    Does anybody realise that getting just ONE live mammoth calf requires hundreds of surrogate elephant mothers due to low success rate?
    Cloned mammoths would have the same or even higher mortality rate as elephants, so if the calf is born alive it doesn't mean it would live enough to reach sexual maturity.
    Actual de-extinction of mammoths requires a real population, say 5.10 healthy, mature specimens, with enough genetic variety.
    Most possible outcome though, is a pair or 1.2 - but they won't help much.

    Btw if African elephants are suitable for being used as surrogate mothers, then cows from would-be-culled herds get a new hope, and any required number can be obtained. 'Suffering' from unnatural pregnancy is better than death indeed.
     
  11. Thaumatibis

    Thaumatibis Well-Known Member

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    True... with only 4 swinhoe's turtles, it would be hard. But why not museum specimens? You could just fill in the gaps with DNA from living animals. It's worth a shot.

    ~ Thaumatibis
     
  12. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    Here's an idea, really out of the box. What if, cloning an extinct species or a nearly extinct species became a status symbol for the super wealthy or mega-corporations? They could spend their millions on it, create a tax-free charity, and have the animals forever connected to their names. It fills the need for huge egos, a place to dump money before taxes, and helps the natural world. It meets the wants of both liberals and conservatives. Socialists and libertarians. Win win?
     
  13. savethelephant

    savethelephant Well-Known Member

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    I will restate a question once asked to you

    Why aren't you in congress?
     
  14. jbnbsn99

    jbnbsn99 Well-Known Member

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    Not enough time.
     
  15. Thaumatibis

    Thaumatibis Well-Known Member

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    ...If you're worried about becoming a political scapegoat, don't worry. Someone else will bungle up and your blunders will be forgotten. :p

    ~ Thaumatibis
     
  16. ZooElephantsMan

    ZooElephantsMan Well-Known Member

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    I think that when Mammoths do get cloned, it will be very very good for ecology in siberia, but it will also be very good when the population gets big enough for all of the zoos who are criticized for having elephants in wintery climates like candada and the such. I still would rather have people stop poaching and stuff like that first, but since thats not going to happen and people are all too excited with mamoths and the unknown, we should just look at the bright side.