Scientists Map DNA of Woolly Mammoth

Neanderthals, early humans could be next
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2008 6:42 PM CST
Scientists Map DNA of Woolly Mammoth
The frozen remains of two woolly mammoths are seen on display in a refrigerated viewing in Taiwan.   (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Scientists have pieced together the nearly complete genome of the woolly mammoth from a hair strand found in Siberia, National Geographic reports. It's the first time scientists have decoded the nuclear DNA of an extinct species. The development makes it theoretically possible for the mammoths to roam the earth again after a 10,000-year rest, though current technical hurdles make that a nearly impossible goal.

In the meantime, scientists might now be able to use the same technique to decode the DNA of Neanderthals and early humans to gain valuable new knowledge about evolution. (No such luck for dinosaurs, however, whose DNA is too old to salvage.) The success will likely rekindle interest in museum collections, where old samples of fur might have new tales to tell.
(More scientific breakthroughs stories.)

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