Frozen Mice Succesfully Cloned

on November 8, 2008

BBC News: “Scientists Clone from Frozen Mice” Mice frozen for 16 years have been successfully cloned by Japanese scientists. Could mammoths be next?

A team at the Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, used brain cells from mice that had been stored at -20˚C (-4˚F) to create the clones. Depending on temperature and duration, cells that are frozen commonly experience damage to their DNA, which is one reason why the successful test is important.

Cells that are frozen commonly experience damage to their DNA.

Most successful cloning in the past has used live donor cells, although previously Australian scientists cloned a pig from cells that had been frozen for two years. The scientists from the Center for Development Biology suggest that perhaps mammoths could one day be cloned from their frozen remains, although DNA that has been taken from frozen mammoths has been found to be severely degraded.

“The key question is whether sufficiently intact nuclei could be extracted from mammoth cells, which will have been frozen for at least 10,000 years at relatively high sub-zero temperatures,” says John Armitage, director of tissue banking at the Bristol Eye Hospital. He also cautioned that even -20˚C would not stop genetic degradation for long, and that temperatures of “at least -140˚C” (-220˚F), along with cryoprotecting chemicals, is necessary for ideal preservation.

Disappointingly, not only might mammoths not return, but Armitage’s suggestion applies to the long-term storage of embryos used in stem-cell research.

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