May 28, 2010

Science Scene - Jurassic Park Looms?

Scientists in Australia, Canada and Denmark have resurrected woolly mammoth blood, determining that the huge beasts' circulatory systems acted as a sort of antifreeze. The process uses DNA extracted from 43,000-year-old mammoth bones and then duplicated inside E. coli bacteria cells. It could easily be adapted to other extinct species, the researchers say, suggesting future medical labs full of dinosaur blood (if not full-fledged dinos).

For now, the team plans to study Australian marsupials like the extinct thylacine, a small tiger, and endangered Tasmanian Devil.

The team's method for re-creating the blood was a breakthrough in itself. Researchers used DNA that had been extracted from Siberian mammoth specimens, between 25,000 and 43,000 years old. (Mammoth DNA has already been sequenced.)

They converted the blood DNA sequences into RNA, and inserted them into E. coli bacteria. The bacteria acted as RNA factories, manufacturing authentic mammoth protein.

The resulting hemoglobin molecules are no different than taking a blood sample from a real woolly mammoth, Cooper said.

The concept could conceivably be used for any extinct species, as long as scientists have DNA samples.

"(This) opens the way to being able to study all sorts of proteins from the past, and to study many physiological characteristics," Cooper said. "It's really paleobiology; you're studying how extinct species function, and how they adapted to climate change and other past environmental conditions that we can't get at in the fossil record."



  1. Amazing science. What a wealth of information can be obtained.

  2. Ken I found this really interesting ~ I wonder if they will recreate a Mammoth ~ Scientists do the weirdest things ~ Ally x

  3. Nature has a way of doing things is all about preservation. I am hopeful.

  4. You find the most interesting posts.


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