Friday, November 7, 2008

It's Alive!

Scientists in Japan have succeeded in producing healthy cloned mice from mice that had been frozen for up to 16 years.

Usually, when you clone an animal from a frozen specimen, that specimen has been intentionally frozen for future cloning. That means great care was taken to prevent the cells from rupturing and a cryoprotective agent (like polyvinylpyrrolidone or glycerol) was added to keep the membranes intact.

In this study, there was no cryoprotectant and the cells were not viable. The investigators managed to produce their clones using just the nuclear material, and not living cells.

This means that it may be possible to produce living clones from frozen specimens of animals that are endangered, or even extinct.

Like the woolly mammoth.

Here's the paper.