Resurrected Mammoth Blood Very Cool

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Professor Alan Cooper is pictured here with a mammoth bone. (Credit: University of Adelaide)

(University of Adelaide via ScienceDaily, 3 May 2010) — A team of international researchers has brought the primary component of mammoth blood back to life using ancient DNA preserved in bones from Siberian specimens 25,000 to 43,000 years old. Studies of recreated mammoth hemoglobin, published May 3 in Nature Genetics, reveal special evolutionary adaptations that allowed the mammoth to cool its extremities down in harsh Arctic conditions to minimize heat loss. “It has been remarkable to bring a complex protein from an extinct species, such as the mammoth, back to life,” says Professor Alan Cooper, Director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) at the University of Adelaide, where the mammoth hemoglobin sequences were determined. This is true paleobiology, as we can study and measure how these animals functioned as if they were alive today.” Professor Cooper is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and a member of the University’s Environment Institute. “We’ve managed to uncover physiological attributes of an animal that hasn’t existed for thousands of years,” says team leader Professor Kevin Campbell of the University of Manitoba, Canada. “Our approach opens the way to studying the biomolecular and physiological characteristics of extinct species, even for features that leave no trace in the fossil record.” The project began over seven years ago when Professor Campbell contacted Professor Cooper, who was then based at the University of Oxford, to suggest resurrecting mammoth hemoglobin.

Original article here

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