Mammoth blood, reconstituted from 25,000 year old DNA, can carry oxygen at low temperatures.
A team of international researchers has brought the primary component of mammoth blood back to life using ancient DNA preserved in bones from Siberian specimens 25,000 to 43,000 years old.
Studies of recreated mammoth hemoglobin, published in Nature Genetics, reveal special evolutionary adaptations that allowed the mammoth to cool its extremities down in harsh Arctic conditions to minimize heat loss.
The team converted the mammoth hemoglobin DNA sequences into RNA, and inserted them into modern-day E. coli bacteria, which then manufactured the authentic mammoth protein.
The unusual changes in the protein sequence allowed the mammoth's blood to deliver oxygen to cells even at very low temperatures, something that indicates adaptation to the Arctic environment.