The researchers resuscitated the mammoth’s genes in the lab, but that’s not to say it’s killing extinct species,media reported. These particular genes are believed to come from one of the last existing mammoth populations, which are thought to have genetic defects. The team is testing whether these genes work properly — and the results are not.
The island of Flangel is located in the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia and is believed to be home to one of the last surviving mammoth populations. Although the last group of about 300 mammoths to live there did not disappear until about 4,000 years ago, their living environment was not comfortable.
This map shows the location of the last surviving mammoth– Frange Island.
According to previous genomic studies, the Flegel Island mammoth has developed a series of genetic defects due to a reduced number and a limited gene pool. These mutations are thought to affect all aspects of their health, such as fertility. But these predictions are largely theoretical.
In the new study, the team tested the idea. First, they compared the DNA of a mammoth on The Island of Frange with the DNA of three Asian elephants and two older mammoths.
Vincent Lynch, lead author of the study, explained: “We know how the genes responsible for our ability to detect odors work. So we can resurrect the mammoth gene, let the cultured cells produce the mammoth gene, and then test whether the protein works properly in the cell. If it hadn’t — and didn’t — then we could infer that it might mean that the mammoths of The Rangel couldn’t smell the flowers they ate. “
This allowed the team to identify genes unique to the Mammoth son of The RangeL Island. They then synthesized these altered genes in the lab and inserted DNA into cultured cells to see how they interacted with other genes and molecules.
In these late mammoths, important genes have been shown to be defective, including those associated with fertility, neurodevelopment, insulin signaling, and smell. This confirms the predictions of many previous studies. Not only does it help enrich the tragic story experienced by the last mammoth on Earth, but it may also hint at the future facing the species that are now endangered.
Lynch points out that the key innovation in their paper is that they actually resurrected the Flegel Island mammoth gene to test whether their mutations were destructive. In addition to suggesting that the last mammoth stake is likely to be an unhealthy population, it is also a warning to endangered existing species: if their populations remain small, they may also accumulate harmful mutations that could lead to their extinction.