AN ACADEMIC is to explore whether scientists can complete the mammoth task of bringing species out of extinction.
A lecturer at Derby University is to consider the possibility of cloning mammoths in a public lecture tomorrow.
Graham Rowe will talk about ‘de-extinction’ and the prospect of seeing living mammoths in the future in an event beiing held to celebrate Biology Week.
He said: “Recent developments in genetic and cloning technologies have raised the question of whether it will soon be possible to bring extinct species back to life – so-called ‘de-extinction’ or ‘genetic resurrection’.
“Any attempt at de-extinction will require a source of DNA from the surviving remains of an extinct individual and the better the quality and quantity of DNA recovered, the greater the prospective chances of success.”
“Good candidates for early attempts at de-extinction are those species that have only recently become extinct. The mammoth has been proposed as a prime candidate for de-extinction.
“Mammoths died out within the last ten thousand years but, more importantly, the remains of their soft tissues are not infrequently encountered still frozen in the Arctic tundra.”
The talk will discuss whether mammoth DNA is sufficiently good quality to be used for cloning and if so, how it would be possible to resurrect the species as well as the ethics around doing so.
Mr Rowe added: “The talk is open to anyone who with an interest in biology – or mammoths. I will also give a brief introduction to mammoths and their relationship with living elephants. No specialist knowledge is required.”