Stem-Cells and Cloning

I was watching a program on TechTV the other night about the efforts of an Arizona millionare to find DNA of extinct animals like saber tooth tigers and woolly mammoths in order to clone them for a zoo. The show followed his efforts to find tissue that had intact DNA. It also dwelled on two researchers who discovered some kind of cellular structure that could lay dormant for at least 30,000 years. When this structure was placed in a nutrient medium and placed into an incubator, it gradually began to create stem-cells. This was touted as the best way to get intact DNA from the tissue. I’m curious if the cloning process would be the same with stem-cells as it is with ordinary cells. Also, what’s the deal with the cellular structures that they were talking about? Is there any independent research confirming them? I swear that when they were talking about the structures, all I could think about was some of Wilhelm Reich’s more bizarre theories about orgone energy.

I’d heard the one about 250 million year old bacteria, but 30,000 year old stem cells ? That’s a hard one to swallow without a goodly bit of evidence. Do you remember the names of the researchers or anything else about them ?

Sadly, I don’t remember anything else about the researchers, other than they were brothers and the program was Secret Strange and True on TechTV. I checked their website, and there’s nothing about who the guys are, nor anything else informative about it, but the show is apparently scheduled to be rebroadcast on Sat. Nov. 2nd at 5 PM and 8 PM EST. I’ll try to catch the rebroadcast and jot down some notes about everything.

Okay, I watched the program when they reran it last night. The brother researchers are Charles and Martin Vacanti and a google search on “spore-like cells” kicks out articles on the two brothers, but nothing that I can find as an independent confirmation of their work. The brothers are most famous for “growing” an ear on a mouse.

The Arizona millionaire’s name is John Babiarz, and he’s working with palaeontologist Larry Dean Martin.