Posts Tagged ‘Genetics’

WTF: Mammoth Clone

January 7, 2009
Scientists are very close to completely sequencing the genome of a mammoth.  You know, a mammoth…huge prehistoric animal, starred in fine animated features such as “Ice Age” and “Ice Age 2.”
ice-age     ice-age-2
Since they’re so close to figuring out the entire genetic code of the mammoth, people have started talking about cloning a mammoth.  The ability to clone a mammoth isn’t quite here yet, but will probably arrive sooner rather than later given the rapidly improving pace of cloning technology. 
Why on earth would anyone want to clone a mammoth?  Well, there are already efforts to bring back extinct or endangered species through cloning.  They already cloned a gaur (sort of like an ox), which is currently on the endangered list.  (The cloned gaur only survived for a couple days though because it came down with an infection.)  The other reason for cloning is to figure out how to prevent the extinction of currently endangered species by studying extinct species.
The downside?  Well, cloning anything is really expensive.  The cost of cloning a mammoth is estimated to be at least $10 million.  There is also the ethical issue.  Where do you draw the line at cloning?  Scientists have successfully sequenced the mitochondrial DNA of Neanderthals (our closest ancestors) and are currently working on sequencing the full genome. If they’re successful, should we clone a Neanderthal?
You can read more about the Mammoth Genome Project here.  And here’s another interesting article about cloning in general.  And another one specifically about cloning a mammoth.
So…cloning a mammoth…Win, Toss, or Fail?

Genes are Fun! no… really

August 21, 2008

A few weeks ago I FedEx’ed a sample of my saliva to a bunch of people I do not know. And I am sooo excited to hear back. As some of you may know, I am one of the lucky folks who checks the “other” box when filling out documents asking what my ethnicity is. In basic terms my ancestors come from Holland, Indonesia, China and Jamaica. I am pretty sure my whitey side is all Dutch but I am slightly fuzzy about my mother’s peeps. Coming from this diverse genetic pool has always fascinated me… In Bio class in high school, whenever we did the Mendel shtuff I would get so excited (Nerd! Nerd!). So when I read that normal civilian-types could pay to get their genome, I was like, woot!woot! When it’s done I will share some of my discoveries and give you gals all the details about the company and how it’s all done! To tide you over, I am embedding a video from my beloved TED. Hope you all enjoy!