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52,000-year-old scrap of woolly mammoth skin reveals 3D shape of its DNA for 1st time ever


A 52,000-year-old woolly mammoth carcass was so well preserved, scientists were able to determine the 3D structure of the prehistoric creature’s genetic code, a first-of-its-kind study shows.

The new breakthrough is a significant step on the path to sequencing a complete woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) genome, which has been challenging due to the degraded nature of ancient DNA. With a completely sequenced genome, scientists may finally be able to identify every single DNA mutation that differentiates modern elephants from their woolly mammoth relatives. A full overview of these genetic differences could in turn boost ongoing efforts to “de-extinct” the woolly mammoth.

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