Honey? Is the Mammoth Meat From That Exotic Animal Buffet Still in the Freezer?

Published on November 4, 2008
by John Paczkowski

Looks like the Alcor Life Extension Foundation may be able to do something with the cryogenically frozen remains of Ted Williams after all.

By injecting nuclei from mice frozen for 16 years directly into unfertilized mice eggs, a team of Japanese geneticists was able to create healthy clones of the dead animals. Quite a breakthrough, and one that implies the cloning of cryogenically frozen humans and the resurrection of extinct animals frozen in permafrost is perhaps a little less improbable than originally thought. “Cloning animals by nuclear transfer provides an opportunity to preserve endangered mammalian species,” the researchers wrote in a paper submitted to The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “[The technique] could be used to ‘resurrect’ animals or maintain valuable genomic stocks from tissues frozen for prolonged periods without any cryopreservation.”

Using it to produce a Crichtonian Jurassic Park, however, is quite a ways off. “It remains to be shown whether nuclei can be collected from whole bodies frozen without cryoprotectants and whether they will be viable for use in generating offspring following nuclear transfer,” the researchers noted. “However, it has been suggested that the ‘resurrection’ of frozen extinct species (such as the woolly mammoth) is impracticable, as no live cells are available, and the genomic material that remains is inevitably degraded.”

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