Mammoth DNA! Can Mammoth Burgers Be Far Behind?

One can only hope. There’s a BBC article on this, but because of errors on the page, I can’t get it to load. I did, however, find this story from an Indian publication which has the information.

So, it looks like all we need is some mad billionaire with a cloning lab and we can have McMammoth joints on every corner!:smiley:

I can’t wait for Pleistocene Park to open. :smiley:

Oh sure, it sounds great on paper. Verdant landscapes filled with herds of mammoths and ground sloths and cave bears and sabre-toothed tigers, but just wait! You’ll go on the ride and the little train will break down in a storm and then you’ll discover the fine print behind the Staff Wanted sign at the entrance: you’re the fill-ins for the Beringia Man exhibit, and you’ll have to don fur robes and undergo some totally-inadequate spear training, and they’ll never get around to answering your queston of where did the last players go, and then you’ll be out there alone on the tundra.

And then you’ll hear a growl from behind you.

And you’ll try to run, but it won’t make any difference.

Why does my mind flash to Gary Larsen’s “Far Side?” The one with the upside-down mammoth with a single spear sticking out of it, and one caveman saying to another “Maybe we’d better write that spot down.” :smiley:

I should’ve known there’d be a catch. :eek:

Now I can’t get the Flintstone’s theme song out of my head.

Cool article and findings.

However, I wonder if this finding finally puts to rest the common misconception that the Mammoth’s closest relative was the Monarch Butterfly.

Speaking of Mammoth burgers, there are lots of stories about mammoths being found encased in ice, thawed out, and eaten. According to Wikipedia they are bullshit, but it’s still a cool story.

I’m disappointed to find out it’s rumor, though; I recall reading it in one of my textbooks in grade school, and ever since I’d had the idea that there were flash-frozen mammoths here and there and maybe one day I’d get to eat a mammoth steak. Sigh. Another sliver of magical childhood lore hacked away by the Internet.

Image link: Mammoth found in ice in Russia about 100 years ago. I’m not eating that.

Now wait a minute. I recall a Northern Exposure episode where Joel found a mammoth but someone else ate it before the University folks could arrive. Surely that couldn’t be a lie.

and sorry for calling you shirley

It might be BS, but it’s certainly within the realm of possibility. I was watching a program on this Texas millionaire who’s trying to track down mammoth DNA so that he can make a Pleistocene Park and one of the things that they did was dig up Inuit caches of walruses from hundreds of years before and the meat was still edible (though not particularly tasty). And there’s oral legends of mammoth hunts?

Read closer. They managed, though no small amount of effort, to sequence 5,000 base pairs. Of the mitochondrial DNA. They didn’t even touch the nuclear DNA.

For comparison’s sake, the human genome is roughly 3 BILLION base pairs.

There’s just a wee bit more work to do. Don’t fire up the grill just yet.

Yeah, but they were able to do this using a totally new technique, extracting DNA in a state that they weren’t able to do prior to this. Next, they discovered that there’s not that much difference between mammoths and Asian elephants, so they could, possibly, take some Asian DNA, tweak it a bit, and we’d have our brand new woolly mammoths all ready for grillin’!

Mammoth burger, eh?

I was 16 and on a high school choir trip out west and at some diner, the specialty was Buffalo Burgers. So the waitress was taking orders…rubes from Illinois, the members of the high school choir orders came in: Buffalo Burger, Buffalo Burger, Buffalo Burger, Buffalo Burger, Buffalo Burger until they got to me. “Could I have a Buffalo Burger - with cheese?”

This struck everybody as very funny and became the running joke for the rest of the tour.

So…I would like a Mammoth Burger, with cheese…I just have to figure out which cheese would go best…

I’m not sure we’d be eating mammoth burgers anyway. I mean, elephants are not an animal we eat, or would eat if they weren’t endangered. At least I wouldn’t. It would be like eating a dog.

Is it really that difficult?

Isn’t there a number of existing mammoth corpses that have been recovered mostly intact and frozen? Shouldn’t it be possible to get mammoth DNA from those frozen cells?

For reasons of my own I have a huge emotional investment in bringing mammoths back.

Are you referring to the “multiplex polymerase chain reaction” they talk about in the linked article? That’s not exactly a huge breakthrough. It just means they’re doing more than one PCR reaction in the same tube, so they can increase the amount of product from a given amount of original DNA. My lab offers, oh, a dozen or so clinical tests using this technique, and has offered them for at least five years. Just because the reporters haven’t heard of it doesn’t mean it’s new. At most, it’s just the first time it’s been used for this purpose.

That’s not what they said. They said that the mammoth appears to be more closely related to Asian elephants than African elephants. They’re more closely related to mice than to rice plants, too, but that doesn’t mean you can “tweak” mouse DNA to get a mammoth.

If you took the 5,000 base pairs they sequenced and put them into an Asian elephant, you’d end up with an Asian elephant. Even if they want to “plug the holes” with Asian elephant DNA (to use the horrible, horrible analogy from Jurrassic Park), they have a long, long, long way to go.

And, really, the point of this work was not to get the genome for cloning purposes, it was to gain information on the evolutionary history of the mammoth, which they did.

Possible, though with the sketchy details of the article it’s hard to say for certain. They may have tweaked the proceedure in some manner. Presumably, the Nature on the study would have more information.

Ah, but did you see the part where it mentions that they’re roughly as close to Asian elephants as we are to our simian ancestors? So you’re analogy is a bit off, I think. Given that we’re ethically prohibited from tweaking simian DNA to try and make a human or humanzee, this might provide more information on that whole 2% difference between us and apes.

And did you miss the part where I said that we needed a mad billionaire with a genetics lab? I never implied that this is something that little Suzy could whip up in the kitchen, and I certainly don’t think that your average research lab is going to want to take the time or the money to clone mammoths, since they’re not going to see any point to it. That’s why you need someone with lots of money and vision, like that Texas billionaire who’s trying to find a way to clone them for an amusement park. Now, if we can only find one with an appetite for exotic foods, we might be in business.

Related to the Asian Elephant? Damn. There goes my flamingo theory.

Personally, I don’t care for elephant burgers all that much. I don’t see how mammoth burgers would be all that much of an improvement.

Now elephant ear on a bun, that’s to die for! Only problem is, the restaurant is usually out of freaking buns!


This just in!

(emphasis mine) Yes! Yes! Yes!