Researchers Insert Woolly Mammoth Genes Into Living Cells of Elephant

Are we one stomp closer to seeing these extinct creatures? (PHOTO CREDIT: THINKSTOCK)
Are we one stomp closer to seeing these extinct creatures? (PHOTO CREDIT: THINKSTOCK)

Researchers from Harvard University have successfully inserted genes from a woolly mammoth into living cells from an Asian elephant, the extinct giant’s closest remaining relative.

Harvard geneticist George Church used DNA from Arctic permafrost woolly mammoth samples to copy 14 mammoth genes — emphasizing those related to its chilly lifestyle.

“We prioritized genes associated with cold resistance including hairiness, ear size, subcutaneous fat and, especially, hemoglobin,” Church told The Sunday Times.

Then, using a kind of DNA cut/paste system called CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat), Church dropped the genes into Asian elephant skin cells.

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SOURCE: Discovery News