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Thread: Mammoth cloning: ethical problems if it can be done?

  1. #1 Mammoth cloning: ethical problems if it can be done? 
    Forum Freshman Josey's Avatar
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    My bucket list includes seeing a "live" mammoth clone. I searched the forum and there are related discussions, but I 'm surprised it has not come up again. More intact remains seem to be found every day.... thinking it's a matter of time and resource before it's done. Ready for the blasting to begin! Where am I off base?

    related article: Mammoth cloning still unlikely, despite blood discovery | MNN - Mother Nature Network


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  3. #2  
    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    As long as there are no attempts to reintroduce mammoths into the wild, which could harm current ecosystems. Though, I think it may be more ethical for humans to clone animals rendered extinct by human actions. The Thylacine comes to mind, not only did humans cause its extinction, but it's a fascinating creature as well.


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    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Now that bio-engineering has become more like owning IKEA furniture then by all means, clone anything you want. It's all there, just put it together. Let's see how easy it is.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  5. #4  
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    The link you posted seems to answer the question pretty well, doesn't it?
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    Moderator Moderator Cogito Ergo Sum's Avatar
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    The article is rather depressing if you hope that scientists will be able to clone this mammoth.
    But even if they succeed, I do not think that scientists have to deal with the ethical problems.

    Now we just have to wait for a well-preserved dinosaur and better cloning techniques and soon we can open Jurassic Park.
    Last edited by Cogito Ergo Sum; June 4th, 2013 at 07:00 AM. Reason: Confused "conserved" with "preserved" (pointed out by user Neverfly)
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  7. #6  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Now that bio-engineering has become more like owning IKEA furniture then by all means, clone anything you want. It's all there, just put it together. Let's see how easy it is.
    Won't that mean we shall have parts left over?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Now we just have to wait for a well-conserved dinosaur
    MitRomneysaurus Rex.

    I think you meant preserved?

    Or better yet; Dinosaur preserves.

    'Here at Knotts, we bring families together. Whether it's Ornithomimidae or Allosauridae, we can blend them into the finest jams and jellies you've brought to bagel or English Muffin.
    So go on; pop open a jar of mauisaurus marmalade. You've earned it. With Knotts, you can start every day with a giant step.'
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  9. #8  
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    I don't see any serious ethical concerns here.
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  10. #9  
    New Member Anonymous Thinker's Avatar
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    I'm not sure there could be any unethical implications. We protect endangered species, isn't this technology insurance for that goal?
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  11. #10  
    Forum Freshman Josey's Avatar
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    Copied this from Wikipedia: "Paul and Elder define ethics as "a set of concepts and principles that guide us in determining what behavior helps or harms sentient creatures"."

    Points to Ponder:
    - Shlunka's guidance leading to an existance in captivity
    - Potential to isolate a sentient/social creature
    - The potential " Jurasic Park" scenarios
    - Unknown pathogen vector
    - Pandora bridge to all other cloning
    "the opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings." - Ralph Carpenter
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  12. #11  
    Forum Professor scoobydoo1's Avatar
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    It is interesting that ethical considerations have become an issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Josey View Post
    "Paul and Elder define ethics as "a set of concepts and principles that guide us in determining what behavior helps or harms sentient creatures"."
    I suppose that which either helps or harms "sentient creatures" will depend on which side of the fence one is looking from. Does sentient creatures refer to those species that currently populates our planet, or does it refer to the mammoth that may be cloned? If it is the latter; the question that ought to be asked is - does bringing back an extinct species harm it (the mammoth) more than it does us (all species that aren't extinct just yet)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Josey View Post
    - Shlunka's guidance leading to an existance in captivity
    Compare that thought with any and all animals currently bred and living in captivity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Josey View Post
    - Potential to isolate a sentient/social creature
    I'll take two please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Josey View Post
    - The potential " Jurasic Park" scenarios
    Please elobrate a little more on the nature of the scenario you have in mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Josey View Post
    - Unknown pathogen vector
    Signs of self-preservation instincts kicking in. A more altruistic version would be concerns of such an outbreak harming non-human life, but inevitably damaging the current ecosystem and possibly affecting us as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Josey View Post
    - Pandora bridge to all other cloning
    Is the concern here being exclusively a bridge to other non-human cloning; or cloning in general?
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  13. #12  
    Forum Freshman Josey's Avatar
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    Elephants are very social creatures and appear to form social bonds. Rearing it with elephants might satisfy if the group would accept this "ugly duckling". I do not hink it would do any harm bringing back the extinct species. There would however be a risk to all existing animals (humans included here) as we are introducing a possible vector for disease transmission. Is the mammoth to be raised in a laboratory setting where organisms and pathogens can be controlled? The lifespan of these animals may be 60-80 years.

    Comparing to other animals kept and bred in captivity: thinking there are opinions about killer whales, dolphins, porpoises, elephants, and apes (humans too) kept in confinement and in isolation.

    Scenario 1) Humans become extinct. 20,000 years from now an alien race finds a frozen human and clones it. That human is raised in isolation for study and observation or perhaps it has a clone to play "aliens" with.

    Scenario 2) The Jurasic Park Scenario, where despite safety precautions.... human graft and selfishness put humans and cloned species at odds with disasterous outcomes. The cloned species get OUT of their confinements to wreak havoc on an unready planet. All anuimal life may be in jeopardy until the beasts are brought down.... mammoth burgers for a small northerly village.
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  14. #13  
    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    The 2 year gestation period for an Elephant/Mammoth/Mastodon removed the OMG Jurassic park problem very easily.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

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  15. #14  
    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josey View Post
    Scenario 2) The Jurasic Park Scenario, where despite safety precautions.... human graft and selfishness put humans and cloned species at odds with disasterous outcomes. The cloned species get OUT of their confinements to wreak havoc on an unready planet. All anuimal life may be in jeopardy until the beasts are brought down.... mammoth burgers for a small northerly village.
    Not many considerable animals can take on humans on a rampage.. The dinosaurs would fight eachother as well. Only 1 or 2 would dominate, and honestly, they would have a huge weakness. As they won't understand out technology. We'll only have to get them to walk over electric wire. Or fly into an electric net. If the critters are aquatic, then by all means, fry the suckers. If they are out on open sea... Well that's a problem though.. But our current sea animals could probably take them on. Sharks are a lot smarter then aquatic dinosaurs. We'll just have to wait along, i guess.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  16. #15  
    Forum Sophomore laza's Avatar
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    As far as i know the DNA starts to decay at the moment of death, so even if we found some genetic material it would just be scraps of the whole thing, right ?
    "There is grandeur in this view of life,from so simple beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
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  17. #16  
    Forum Freshman Josey's Avatar
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    I thought DNA had an immortal quality about it... or was that cancer?
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  18. #17  
    Forum Freshman Josey's Avatar
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    This is really neat to think about: our stem cells may be immortal.....so may the mammoths

    Video of interest describing stem cells and immortal worms:Neverending DNA and Immortal Worms - YouTube
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  19. #18  
    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laza View Post
    As far as i know the DNA starts to decay at the moment of death, so even if we found some genetic material it would just be scraps of the whole thing, right ?
    We would find scraps of DNA yes. But theoretically we could turn the fragments into a whole chain again. Simple sequencing trick. But this is only possible if the DNA isn't to messed up. The biggest problem however would be finding fragments where the G's (thought it was the least stable base) have degraded.
    Last edited by Zwolver; June 7th, 2013 at 08:46 AM. Reason: changing T into G
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  20. #19  
    Forum Sophomore laza's Avatar
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    But we would not be sure if that was the exactly the same genome of a mammoth like it was 10 000 years ago right ?
    "There is grandeur in this view of life,from so simple beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
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  21. #20  
    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    No, but there are differences between our DNA, as a human, so slight variations are not that bad. However, even if we could get the exact DNA inside an elephant egg cell, and empregnate an elephant with it. Whatever comes out, will not be a mammoth. As the proteïns that would read the DNA in the beginning, would be that of an elephant, not from a mammoth.

    It's like reading a book..

    Say you can read modern english (elephant), but the book is in ancient english (mammoth). You will get some things wrong. Most likely you will miss certain important intonations that are required for a smooth storyline. If the product would even look like a mammoth, i'd be astonished. If it lives, i'd be amazed. And if it has anything like a normal life span i'd be surprised.

    Just to say, we need to get out proteomics in order, before we can create a mammoth clone.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  22. #21  
    Forum Freshman Josey's Avatar
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    OK..... for a bit of fun check out this story and the source: Scientists believe mankind will see live mammoth - PanARMENIAN.Net

    Cheers!
    "the opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings." - Ralph Carpenter
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