He also explained that the massive animals had different insulin biology because their bodies had to carefully regulate how much of the sugar was transformed into fat and energy. Thus the scientists identified some genes which were connected with certain physical traits such as short tails, small ears and skull shape.
The researchers’ study has been published in Cell Reports on July 2.
Mammoths once roamed North America, Europe and northern Asia.
During such a exploration, the scientific community spotted the familial fabric from two different mammoths found stored in ice cubes somewhere between northeastern Siberia.
Previous efforts to sequence preserved mammoth DNA were error-prone or yielded insights into only a limited number of genes. Namely they placed the DNA of three African and Asian elephants alongside a piece of mammoth DNA which was well-conserved.
The woolly mammoth genetic material came from two specimens which have disappeared roughly between 20,000 to 60,000 years ago. When they added the mammoth TRPV3 gene to a human cell, the gene produced a protein that was less responsive to heat than modern elephants.
They further compared these changes in the genetic structure to those that had happened in mice which had been important in cold adaptation, changing temperature sensation, modifying circadian clocks, and determining the size of fat, hair, or skin deposits.
Woolly mammoths had long and shaggy fur, small tails and ears to minimize frostbite.
The researchers then performed laboratory experiments verifying a computational prediction that a mammoth-specific change in a protein called TRPV3, known to be related to temperature sensation, hair growth, and body-fat storage, modifies the protein’s response to temperature changes. This result is supported by observations in mice that have TRPV3 artificially silenced. They also have curly whiskers and wavy hair.
The gene could help scientists infuse some of these characteristics with the Asian elephant. However, scientists said that they are not completely confident about the effects of these genes as it is hard to study them through the genome alone.
Scientists at University of Chicago and Penn State have completed the first comprehensive, functional analysis of the woolly mammoth genome.
He said: “
Eventually we’ll be technically able to do it.
But the question is: if you’re technically able to do something, should you do it?”
Studies done previously showed that when that particular gene was disabled in mice, they preferred to live in environments that were colder. This study could also help lead to bringing back the extinct animals.
If scientists will ever create a woolly mammoth it will not be a 100 percent clone of the original but rather a cold resistant version somewhere in between an Asian elephant and a mammoth.