Reconstruction of Mammoth's Genome

Reconstruction of Mammoth's Genome
A US-Russian team of scientists claims that they have reconstructed about two-thirds of the genome of the woolly mammoth using DNA extracted from balls of hair. Now, they hopes that it could provide better insights into the extinction of the mammoth and could also lead to resurrection of long-dead species.

"One can imagine a new field of ‘museomics’ using the collected samples that are now stored in natural-history museums," said Stephan Schuster, a biologist at Pennsylvania State University who led the 21-person research team with a colleague, Webb Miller.

The researchers, used two samples of woolly mammoth hair. One sample was collected from a 20,000-year-old mammoth from Siberia, while the other was from a specimen from an animal that died 65,000 years ago. Then they sequenced 4.17 billion bases and determined that 3.3 billion belonged to the mammoths. The rest were from viruses, bacteria, fungi and other microbes. The researchers identified the mammoth DNA by comparing the sequences with the genome of the modern African elephant. The results of the study was published in the latest edition of journal Nature.

Mammoths disappeared about 10,000 years ago when they were hunted to extinction by prehistoric humans. Well, it is too early to say whether the study will help scientist to resurrect mammoth or not. But it is true that for the first time scientists have reconstructed the genome of an extinct species and it could open many doors for researchers. The study also helped scientists in understanding the evolution pattern of elephants.