Research, Technology

Scientists clone ancient bison perfectly preserved in ancient permafrost

Animal remains found in permafrostthis is always of great value for science, as they are millennia old, and the tissues are usually well preserved. But a find made by Russian scientists in Yakutia in 2022 turned out to be particularly interesting. This time, they managed to find the remains of a bison, which, according to preliminary estimates, had lain in the frozen ground for 8-9 thousand years. Unfortunately, the specimen was not complete, but the head and front of the body turned out to be in even better condition than the remains of many other animals found in permafrost. Scientists even performed an autopsy on the bison to take samples of muscles, skin and bones, as well as extract the brain. According to the researchers, the tissues are in such good condition that the animal can be cloned. If scientists manage to do this, the bison from Yakutia will become the first cloned ancient animal.

Scientists have discovered the remains of an ancient bison, which are perfectly preserved in the permafrost

What is known about the ancient bison

The remains of an ancient bison were discovered in eternalpermafrost in the summer of 2022 in the Verkhoyansk region of Yakutia. The study showed that at the time of death, the age of the animal ranged from one and a half to two years. What is the geological age of the remains, scientists do not yet know for sure, since studies on this subject have not been conducted. Radiocarbon and microbiological research will help answer this question.

However, in 2009 and 2010, scientists were also able tofind in the remains of bison preserved in the permafrost. Their age was 8-9 thousand years. Most likely, the age of the current find is close to these values, as reported by Live Science. But, most importantly, the bison discovered last year had better preserved tissues. Therefore, some researchers believe that animal DNA can be used for cloning. In particular, this is stated by Hwang Vu Sos, a laboratory professor at the Mammoth Museum of the North-Eastern Federal University.

Scientists have not established the exact geological age of the bison, but preliminary it is 8-9 thousand years old.

What is the value of such cloning, if itbe able to produce? First of all, the very fact of cloning a creature that has lain in the permafrost for thousands of years is already interesting. In addition, the bison belongs to an ancient species that has long since died out. Theoretically, cloning the bison would restore the extinct species.

Cloning an ancient animal will not work?

It should be noted that animal cloning isit is still a rather complicated process. But in this case, we are talking about cloning not just about an animal, but the creation of a clone from the remains that have lain for thousands of years in the Earth. This greatly complicates the task. Therefore, among scientists there are skeptics who are sure that cloning will not work.

As paleogeneticist Love Dalen says, in order to successfullyto clone an animal, it is necessary to find intact chromosomes. However, many studies show that even in the best preserved tissue samples, the chromosomes are fragmented into millions of pieces. In his opinion, it is more likely that a tossed coin will fall heads up a thousand times in a row than to find preserved chromosomes in the tissues of an ancient creature.

Despite the well-preserved tissues of the bison, cloning it will be extremely difficult.

Extinct bison can be brought back to life

All of the above arguments do not yet speak ofthat it will not be possible to restore the extinct species of bison. Even if direct cloning fails, it is possible that scientists will be able to sequence most of the bison genome. The missing parts can be taken from the DNA of other samples of the extinct species, as well as bison that currently live on earth. Therefore, scientists plan to carefully study the place where the remains of the animal were found. It is quite possible that well-preserved remains of other similar bison will be found in this area.

Earlier we said that scientists are working onin order to "revive" the mammoth, and, as we said, have already achieved certain positive results. It will be easier to restore the bison, since mammoths have completely died out, and bison exist, although they are listed in the Red Book.

It will be easier to bring an extinct species of bison back to life than mammoths

It must be said that Hwang Woo Seok, an expert incloning, who is currently researching bison and plans to clone them, was previously fired from his position at Seoul National University in South Korea because his work was found to be fraudulent. In addition, he was accused of violating the rules of medical ethics. Not too long ago, a team led by Hwang Woo Suk was involved in a controversy regarding a bear found in the permafrost. His age turned out to be 3,500 years old, not 22,000 years old, as scientists originally claimed.

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Recall that earlier Hwang Woo Suk with a group of othersscientists were going to clone the cave lion. But, as you know, it was not possible to achieve positive results. Therefore, the story of bison cloning caused skepticism among many. However, in fairness, it should be noted that Hwang Woo Sok subsequently managed to restore his scientific reputation by cloning a cow, a cat and a wolf.