Stephan Schuster, scientist at the Nanyang Technological University, explained that he has been trying to demonstrate that genomes from ancient animals can sequenced in a accurate way, similar to extant genomes, one of the best candidates for this is the wooly mammoth.
The scientists wanted to identify what genetic changes happened in the woolly mammoths in order to make them more mammoth-like. These were ran with libraries and repositories to identify what these do. To test their findings, the researchers transplanted a mammoth gene into a human cell. Mammoths were also likely helped by the fact that their temperature-sensing receptors were possibly much less sensitive to cold than the ones of modern elephants.
Use these social-bookmarking links to share Genome reveals how woolly mammoth thrived in the cold. However, these previous efforts were error-prone and yielded only limited results.
The last mammoth disappeared roughly 4,000 years ago.
Woolly mammoths went extinct near the end of the last major ice age, more than 10,000 years ago. “They learn from each other”, he notes. They then compared these genomes against each other and against the genome of African elephants, a slightly more distant evolutionary cousin to both mammoths and Asian elephants. “And it functions in regulating hair growth”. The genes also directed specific patterns of fat metabolism and insulin signaling designed for living conditions in the frigid conditions.
Mammoths possessed genetic changes associated with skin and hair development, fat biology, insulin biology and temperature tolerance that differentiated them from the elephants, University of Chicago geneticist Vincent Lynch said. Lynch added that the mammoth is a flawless example for understanding how morphological evolution works, because these prehistoric creatures are closes related to modern elephants, which lack any of the traits the mammoth had.
The team produced one of the mammoth temperature sensors, a protein called TRPV3, in the lab. As computer models had predicted, the protein was 20 percent less active than the elephant version, researchers report July 2 in Cell Reports. (There are now science teams working on cloning a woolly mammoth.) The answer is yes. Thanks to a new study, the researchers were able to uncover the mysteries of this ancient furry creature. The scientific challenges are quite hard to overcome, though.
The scientists got some of their DNA from mammoth fur they bought on eBay for around $100, recalls Webb Miller of Pennsylvania State University. But will it be a mammoth in the first place?
“We can’t know with absolute certainty the effects of these genes unless someone resurrects a complete woolly mammoth, but we can try to infer by doing experiments in the laboratory”, he said.
He also warned against bringing woolly mammoths back from extinction, saying just because something is possible does not mean it should be carried out: “
Eventually we’ll be technically able to do it.
But the question is: if you’re technically able to do something, should you do it?”
Studies done previously showed that when that particular gene was disabled in mice, they preferred to live in environments that were colder.