February 10, 2006

Wooly Mammoth Genome Sequenced

Posted in Archaeology, Paleontology, Zoology at 4:47 pm by Bram Janssen

Scientists have managed to successfully sequence the genome of the long-extinct wooly mammoth.

Woolly Mammoth

This the oldest genome yet sequenced- and quite a feat it is: the wooly mammoth in question is 33,000 years dead and the entire species has been extinct for about 10,000 years.

The reason why this find is important is for our understanding of the elephant evolution. There is a long-standing discussion whether the mammoth was more closely related to the present-day Asian -or African elephants. This research is suggesting it might be the Asian in the end.


“Although previous studies have shown that the problem with using ancient DNA in evolutionary studies is that DNA modifications can lead to artifact mutations accumulating in postmortem material and, therefore, produce errors in sequences; the strategies and data provided by Rogaev et al demonstrate that their long genomic sequence is essentially free from such artifacts and that the mammoth genome is authentic. Further, they have demonstrated that large DNA fragments can be isolated from ancient specimens recovered from permafrost conditions and that the complete genes can be directly cloned or reconstructed for animals that disappeared from the earth many thousand years ago.”



  1. mr fancypants said,

    now they can build a Jurassic park 😛

  2. Petr Jandacek said,

    When I was a ten year old kid in 1951 I hoped that I would live long enough to see people land on the Moon. Because human knowledge growth was linear in the early 1950s and since then it had become exponential I had miscalculated the date of the Lunar Landings. Astronauts had landed on the Moon about 60 years earlier than I would have imagined. My current goal (now that I am 65) is to live long enough to see a cloned Mammoth in a zoo. Would the researchers please hurry up and let this old man have his dream come through?? Thank you

    Petr Jandacek, LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico USA

  3. Goat said,

    i hope they would

  4. Petr Jandacek said,

    While it is true that most “standard issue” mammoths have died out in two events about 30.000 and 10,000 years ago, there remained a population of miniature mamoths (about as tall as Shetland Ponies (but twice as heavy) on Wrangel Island in Russia’s polar regions. This dwarf mammoth family had survivrd until about 4,000 years ago when people in Europe were already out-standing in their field — as farmers =-). It would be prudent to analyze DNA from these more recent mammoth survivors.

    Petr Jandacek 127 La Senda Rd. LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico, USA 87544

  5. Albert Wittine Jr., MD said,

    Now we have also deciphered the Neandertal genome. What shall we do now? Shall we recreate a world that perished some 20,000 years ago? Ancient cave bear DNA has also been successfully sequenced. Smilodon might be resurrected, too.

    Isn`t it weird that we dream to revive extinct species whilst we are assiduously exterminating thousands of species every year?

    Man is responsible for the greatest mass extinction since the K-T extinction event 65 million years ago!

  6. Lydia B. Undergrad Research Assist. Hiram College said,

    It was only mtDNA….

    They sequenced the DNA from the motochondria but not the actual nucleus of a cell. They have just started to sequence nDNA or genes from the nuclues of hair shafts, which will hopefully complete the genome of the actual mammoth and not it’s motochondria.

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