Halloween might be over, but we have one more tale of horror for you. It has all the makings of a Mary Shelly classic: corpses, scientists, brains, blood, and a creature creation as far from natural as you can get. (Cue flash of lightning.) This time, though, you can leave your pitchforks at home—some peanut butter and traps will do just fine.
Teruhiko Wakayama and his colleagues at the Center for Developmental Biology in Japan report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the successful cloning of mice using genetic material from bodies frozen up to 16 years ago. Up until now, cloning had only been possible with the use of live, intact cells.
|Image courtesy of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS 2008|
Wakayama and his team used two methods of nuclear transfer to create these Frankenmice. In one case, nuclei from both brain and blood cells in the frozen mice were injected—still frozen—into female reproductive cells that had their nuclei removed. Those cells were than allowed to advance into the marula/blastocyst stages and the resulting embryonic stem cells were removed and used to create clones. In a separate case, the reproductive cells were immediately placed in surrogate mice to be carried to term. Both methods produced live, healthy clones.
It’s been more than a year since the cloned mice were created and although it is uncertain how long they’ll live, they’re still spinning in their exercise wheels. Clones were made from genetic material that had been frozen for one week, one month, three months, and 16 years, and it looks like the length of time in the freezer has no effect on the success of the cloning.
It was previously thought that “most if not all” cells from mammals would be ruined if frozen, unprotected, but these new results open up the possibility for protecting endangered species through catalogs of frozen tissue to use in the future. Such “frozen zoos” are already in progress.
And while Wakayama can’t say for sure, it even raises the prospect of "resurrecting” extinct animals that have left frozen remains.
We vote starting small and trying to bring back the elusive Stegosaurus Mouse .Share Post: | Stumble | Share on Facebook | Tweet This |