The Mammoth Genome Project

From LiveScience:

A team led by Hendrik Poinar at McMaster University unlocked secrets of the creature's nuclear DNA by working with a well-preserved 27,000-year-old specimen from Siberia. Colleagues at Penn State sequenced 1 percent of the genome in a few hours and say they expect to finish the whole genome in about a year if funding is provided.

Now as far as I'm concerned this is a great idea. If we have enough mammoth remains for the Explorer's Club to have mammoth banquets and the Discovery Channel to lift them out of the tundra with helicopters, then we might as well get their genome.

The paper is coming out in Science this week (i.e., Friday).

This is also interesting:

More importantly our discovery means that re-creating extinct hybrid animals is theoretically possible," Poinar said.
The scientists are already pondering the ethics involved.
"McMaster is already planning the first conference devoted to the ethics of bringing extinct organisms back to life," said Mamdouh Shoukri, the university's vice president for research and international affairs. "We have an obligation as scientists to explore and maintain the responsible use of research."

Nothing against the mammoths, but I have a feeling that every dollar spent on bringing them back to life would be better spent giving some tropical forest to the Nature Conservancy. Besides, the technology will be a whole lot cheaper in fifty or a hundred years, and the same strangeoids who breed exotic cat hybrids now will be able design mammoths to be Shetland-pony-sized. Or maybe we could just do the genome of Wrangell Island mammoths?

Definitely we shouldn't bring back anything with enough meat for the Explorer's Club.