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Thread: DEFROSTING !

  1. #1 DEFROSTING ! 
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    Hi, I've just read that Japanese scientists have created clones from the bodies of mice that have been frozen for 16 years. It was originally thought that frozen cells would be damaged from being frozen but that now seems not to be the case.

    These scientists now say that it should be possible to recreate such extinct animals as the mammoth with the same technique.

    A couple of questions if I may.

    How is a clone created in this case ? Is the frozen DNA 'defrosted', and then put into a normal egg ?

    Does the DNA and the recipient egg have to be from the same species ?

    Does this news excite you guys or do you have reservations ?

    BARCUD


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  3. #2  
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    Woot! I've been waiting so long for mammoths, seems like, ages.

    I'm sure we can give them a nice range in Canada, make it a World Heritage Site.


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  4. #3 Re: DEFROSTING ! 
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    Quote Originally Posted by BARCUD
    Hi, I've just read that Japanese scientists have created clones from the bodies of mice that have been frozen for 16 years. It was originally thought that frozen cells would be damaged from being frozen but that now seems not to be the case.

    These scientists now say that it should be possible to recreate such extinct animals as the mammoth with the same technique.

    A couple of questions if I may.

    How is a clone created in this case ? Is the frozen DNA 'defrosted', and then put into a normal egg ?

    Does the DNA and the recipient egg have to be from the same species ?

    Does this news excite you guys or do you have reservations ?

    BARCUD
    Well we have known for some time that viable cells and DNA can be isolated from frozen cell preparations and even from frozen carcasses. However, when carcasses are frozen in nature they tend to be subject to cycles of freeze-thaw action (due to seasons, changing environments etc). It is the recovery of viable DNA from those conditions that is remarkable, though not hugely surprising.

    Typically, cloning is performed by transplanting the nucleus of a cell into an nucleus-free ovum from the same species. It may be possible to do this with closely related species, but how far we can extend that in cases of species that are long extinct I'm not sure. The technique of bringing clones to term in a living animal may compromise the embryonic/foetal development of our clone in a manner that we may not be well able to assess due to the relative lack of information available on mammoth growth and development.

    There are also issues with restoring normal behaviour, which I've outline in my blog this week (linked below). Essentially the chain of learned behaviour in the mammoth (or any extinct species) is broken with the death of the last individual. Restoring that fragile element of a species may prove to be beyond us for some time to come.
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  5. #4  
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    There are also issues with restoring normal behaviour, which I've outline in my blog this week (linked below). Essentially the chain of learned behaviour in the mammoth (or any extinct species) is broken with the death of the last individual. Restoring that fragile element of a species may prove to be beyond us for some time to come.

    Thanks for the informative reply Biologista. Regarding the above paragraph, I find that very interesting. Why should learned behaviour be lost after the death of the final species ? Everything other characteristic is remembered except behaviour ?
    I don't doubt you I just find it interesting that that is the case !

    Hyperthetically then, any extinct species brought back to life through cloning can have a behaviour imprinted upon them from birth ? A T.Rex acting like a pussy cat !

    BARCUD
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    Why should learned behaviour be lost after the death of the final species ?
    The behaviour is learned from the parents and group, which don't exist anymore when you are the last of your species. :wink:

    Everything other characteristic is remembered except behaviour ?
    Some behaviour is learned, while others are pretty much innate. If you were to isolate a kitten before it could really experience its surroundings and reared it without allowing contact with any animals except humans, it would probably still be able to climb trees, groom itself, etc. But some things it would not be able to do as well, if at all, like effective hunting maybe. The same goes for any animal, with (as I have it), those with better developed brains being able to have a larger percentage of learned behaviour. This can be selected for, since such a setup would enable shorter term behavioural tweaks to enhance adaptability. The Pachyderms are pretty intelligent animals, so a fairly large part of their behaviour is learned. Hence, the only one of its kind would not exhibit the true range of behaviours it would have exhibited in its own time. I'd guess that it would be brought to term and raised by elephants, so its behaviour would very closely resemble that of an elephant, since they are so closely related.

    Anyway, this is how I think it works. Biologista or Paralith would be able to give you more reliable information.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by BARCUD
    T.Rex acting like a pussy cat !
    Reptiles get little or no instruction after they hatch. Many just flop out of the nest 100% independent, and run on instinct. Some acquire a taste for certain foods the parent drops or regurgitates into the nest. Learning is mostly up to the individual, and lost with each individual.

    So a T. Rex born today would act just like a T. Rex should... given landscape populated by the appropriate fauna.

    Contrast mammals, which suck up to mama and in turn actively educate their young. Mammals have less instinct to fall back on, but in the place vacated by instinct we gain capacity to learn new tricks... just whatever works for mama. So our behaviour adapts far more readily than hard-wired instinct. It's a good strategy where you can defend helpless offspring through a long infancy period, through changing environment.

    Mammoth young enjoyed a long childhood protected by close-knit herd of females. They'd learn the migration routes, which might change a bit with each generation. It's really good to know one river is worth crossing, while fording another river will get you stranded. Instinct can't pass such knowledge, and the stakes are too high for individual trial and error.


    When we raise animals in captivity for release to wild, we often use surrogate parent puppets. The animal may not fully identify with the puppet, but it seems to benefit emotionally and take behavioral cues. Who wants to fund the surrogate herd for baby mammoths? More likely we'll just use elephants trained for the role.


    Reintroduction and survival of this species may have to follow an iguana model, where the greater population lives penned and farmed for meat, to fund a smaller population in nature reserve.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by BARCUD
    There are also issues with restoring normal behaviour, which I've outline in my blog this week (linked below). Essentially the chain of learned behaviour in the mammoth (or any extinct species) is broken with the death of the last individual. Restoring that fragile element of a species may prove to be beyond us for some time to come.

    Thanks for the informative reply Biologista. Regarding the above paragraph, I find that very interesting. Why should learned behaviour be lost after the death of the final species ? Everything other characteristic is remembered except behaviour ?
    I don't doubt you I just find it interesting that that is the case !
    Well, imagine we generate a new baby mammoth by cloning. Who teaches it to behave like a mammoth? Its parents are some sort of surrogate species and a bunch of human handlers.

    Quote Originally Posted by BARCUD
    Hyperthetically then, any extinct species brought back to life through cloning can have a behaviour imprinted upon them from birth ? A T.Rex acting like a pussy cat !
    Depends on the species really. For example, I'm pretty sure few invertebrate species have much by way of a learning capacity. Most vertebrate species on the other hand would tend to derive a fair amount of their behaviour from learning. That's all pretty broad labelling though. For T.rex, we don't have much information on their capacity to learn.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by BARCUD
    T.Rex acting like a pussy cat !
    Reptiles get little or no instruction after they hatch. Many just flop out of the nest 100% independent, and run on instinct. Some acquire a taste for certain foods the parent drops or regurgitates into the nest. Learning is mostly up to the individual, and lost with each individual.

    So a T. Rex born today would act just like a T. Rex should... given landscape populated by the appropriate fauna.
    So long as T.Rex takes after reptiles rather than birds... I suspect we won't know until we try it.

    Mind you, it's rather a moot point. It will take some significant advances and a lot of luck for us to clone a mammoth. A T.rex is another prospect entirely. No frozen carcasses there.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Who teaches it to behave like a mammoth? Its parents are some sort of surrogate species and a bunch of human handlers.
    We can teach it to regard humans just as its ancestors did, by chasing it around and pelting it with rocks. A little cruel perhaps but not unusual.

    Anyway, "a good home" for the mammoths is Pleistocene Park, in Russia, which is meant to re-enact good times with all the original flora and fauna and so disprove the theory mammoths were extincted by climate change not human hunting.

    The surrogate herd could be trained in what behaviors we're sure of, like migration. Wouldn't they take naturally to behaviors of their cousins? I mean more naturally than circus performance, right? Adapting elephants to cold and poor diet seems the hardest part. Perhaps better raise the first few generation fully domesticated with southern elephants, then send a full herd of mature mammoths north, trained to survive in their natural habitat, then let them raise "wild" offspring.

    I forgot to mention the main reason we use puppets is so not to teach human = free lunch.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Who teaches it to behave like a mammoth? Its parents are some sort of surrogate species and a bunch of human handlers.
    We can teach it to regard humans just as its ancestors did, by chasing it around and pelting it with rocks. A little cruel perhaps but not unusual.

    Anyway, "a good home" for the mammoths is Pleistocene Park, in Russia, which is meant to re-enact good times with all the original flora and fauna and so disprove the theory mammoths were extincted by climate change not human hunting.

    The surrogate herd could be trained in what behaviors we're sure of, like migration. Wouldn't they take naturally to behaviors of their cousins? I mean more naturally than circus performance, right? Adapting elephants to cold and poor diet seems the hardest part. Perhaps better raise the first few generation fully domesticated with southern elephants, then send a full herd of mature mammoths north, trained to survive in their natural habitat, then let them raise "wild" offspring.

    I forgot to mention the main reason we use puppets is so not to teach human = free lunch.
    We should still do it if we get the chance, of course. Again though, what we will get is an approximation of mammoth behaviour that is impossible to conclusively test against the original.
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  12. #11  
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    Okay, those are the issues regarding animals. Are there any implications regarding humans and cloning ? Or am I getting into ethical territory ?

    BARCUD
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  13. #12  
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    Yes, another thread.
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  14. #13  
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    Hey Pong, which section should I post on ?

    BARCUD
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by BARCUD
    Okay, those are the issues regarding animals. Are there any implications regarding humans and cloning ? Or am I getting into ethical territory ?

    BARCUD
    There are still technical barriers to human cloning, but I imagine the ethical barriers will present the much larger obstacle! Maybe just start a new thread called "Human Cloning" or somesuch.
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    Hi, I've done a bit of reading on the web about human cloning now and I think the subject is best left alone !

    BARCUD
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by BARCUD
    Hi, I've done a bit of reading on the web about human cloning now and I think the subject is best left alone !

    BARCUD
    Yeah, really it's as bad as bringing up embryonic stem cells, abortion or the creation/evolution debate. You can sure do it, but the row is going to be big
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  18. #17  
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    How about, while in the biology section, we only stick to the science? Then there needn't be any row, just interesting discussion.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
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  19. #18  
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    Worth a try.

    I once saw a strangely mutated plant, in somebody's garden. It had grown an indefinite string of siamese twins, connected by parallel main stems unrolled so that the stems together formed a solid low wall. It was thought to be a dahlia. But the plant(s) looked more like a spiraling green centipede. The leaves of each sub-plant were consistent with the last and twisted in repeating pattern with their neighbours, Celtic knot fashion.

    One plant, or series of clones? Are clones only products of sexual reproduction?
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Are clones only products of sexual reproduction?
    Cloning is asexual reproduction. In plants, we can generate clones very easily.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Are clones only products of sexual reproduction?
    Cloning is asexual reproduction. In plants, we can generate clones very easily.
    My impression was that "clone" is through the facility of sexual reproduction.

    So if I take a cutting, it's a "clone"? That mutated string of plant(s) I described, is it a series of clones? I'm not arguing, I'm looking for a practical definition.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Are clones only products of sexual reproduction?
    Cloning is asexual reproduction. In plants, we can generate clones very easily.
    My impression was that "clone" is through the facility of sexual reproduction.

    So if I take a cutting, it's a "clone"? That mutated string of plant(s) I described, is it a series of clones? I'm not arguing, I'm looking for a practical definition.
    A cutting is a clone, yes. It is genetically identical to the original plant. You can grow cuttings on special media with plant hormones that turn the material into a sort of plant tumor. You can then break down that material into single cells and culture them a bit like you might culture bacteria. Put the resulting mini plants into solid media and you get lots of little clones.

    If your plant sexually reproduces, then what you get is a combination of the genes of both parent plants, so not a clone.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    A cutting is a clone, yes. It is genetically identical to the original plant.
    So "clone" is a broader and less remarkable category than I thought. Genetically identical = clone.
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