Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Woolly mammoth's secrets for shrugging off cold points toward new artificial blood for humans

Date:
September 15, 2011
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
The blood from woolly mammoths -- those extinct elephant-like creatures that roamed Earth in pre-historic times -- is helping scientists develop new blood products for modern medical procedures that involve reducing patients' body temperature.

The blood from woolly mammoths -- those extinct elephant-like creatures that roamed Earth in pre-historic times -- is helping scientists develop new blood products for modern medical procedures that involve reducing patients' body temperature.

Related Articles


The report appears in ACS' journal Biochemistry.

Chien Ho and colleagues note that woolly mammoth ancestors initially evolved in warm climates, where African and Asian elephants live now, but migrated to the cold regions of Eurasia 1.2 million -- 2.0 million years ago in the Pleistocene ice age. They adapted to their new environment by growing thick, "woolly" fur and smaller ears, which helped conserve heat, and possibly by changing their DNA. In previous research, Ho and colleagues discovered that a blood protein (hemoglobin) that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body in the woolly mammoth has mutations in its DNA that make it different from that of its cousin, the Asian elephant. The scientists turned to the mutations that helped woolly mammoths survive freezing temperatures, and carefully analyzed hemoglobin from the ancient animal.

They didn't have a woolly mammoth blood sample, so they made the hemoglobin protein in the laboratory by using fragmented DNA sequences from three mammoths that died in Siberia between 25,000 and 43,000 years ago. Compared to hemoglobin from Asian elephants and humans, the woolly mammoth protein was much less sensitive to temperature changes, which means it can still easily unload oxygen to tissues that need it in the cold, whereas the other hemoglobins can't. This is likely due to at least two of the mutations in the woolly mammoth hemoglobin gene. These insights could lead to the design of new artificial blood products for use in hypothermia induced during heart and brain surgeries.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yue Yuan, Tong-Jian Shen, Priyamvada Gupta, Nancy T. Ho, Virgil Simplaceanu, Tsuey Chyi S. Tam, Michael Hofreiter, Alan Cooper, Kevin L. Campbell, Chien Ho. A Biochemical–Biophysical Study of Hemoglobins from Woolly Mammoth, Asian Elephant, and Humans. Biochemistry, 2011; 50 (34): 7350 DOI: 10.1021/bi200777j

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Woolly mammoth's secrets for shrugging off cold points toward new artificial blood for humans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110914115831.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2011, September 15). Woolly mammoth's secrets for shrugging off cold points toward new artificial blood for humans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110914115831.htm
American Chemical Society. "Woolly mammoth's secrets for shrugging off cold points toward new artificial blood for humans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110914115831.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

US Returns Looted Artifacts to Thailand

US Returns Looted Artifacts to Thailand

AFP (Nov. 19, 2014) — The United States has returns over 500 vases, bowls, axes, and other ancient artifacts mostly from the Ban Chiang archaeological site which were illegally looted from Thailand decades ago. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Search Through Every Public Tweet Sent Since 2006

How To Search Through Every Public Tweet Sent Since 2006

Newsy (Nov. 19, 2014) — Twitter has announced improvements to its search index that allow users to search through every public tweet sent since its inception in 2006. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Unlocks the Mystery of Paintings

Professor Unlocks the Mystery of Paintings

AP (Nov. 19, 2014) — Richard Johnson, a computer and engineering professor at Cornell University, is using technology to uncover mysteries about the age and authenticity of historic paintings by artists like Johannes Vermeer and Vincent Van Gogh. (Nov. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Napoleon Memorabilia to Be Sold at Auction

Napoleon Memorabilia to Be Sold at Auction

AFP (Nov. 14, 2014) — Napoleon's personal possessions, including his iconic cocked hat, are being auctioned off this weekend at a special sale at Fontainebleau Castle. Buyers are expected to bid hundreds of thousands or even millions of euros. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins