Cryoprotective properties of mammoth blood: discovery of NEFU scientists may prove a hypothesis of Canadian professor

The carcass of a female mammoth found on Maliy Lyakhovsky Island by the expedition of North-Eastern Federal University, gave a food for reflection of scientific community. The uniqueness of the malolyakhovsky mammoth is that it was the first well-preserved carcass for last 112 years. But the main interest is cryoprotective properties of blood from the ancient animal.

“Liquid blood was found in ice cavities below the belly and when we broke these cavities with a poll pick, the blood came running out. Interestingly, the temperature at the time of excavation was – 7 to – 10oC”, said Semyon Grigoriev, head of the Museum of Mammoths named after P.A. Lazarev of NEFU Institute of Applied Ecology of the North.

Members of the expedition said that their discovery may prove the research results of Canadian scientist. “We found an article published in 2010 of the University of Manitoba professor Kevin Campbell in “Nature Genetics” Journal”, where he makes an assumption that the hemoglobin of mammoth blood could continue delivering oxygen to body tissues even in extreme cold. Thus, our discovery could be an actual evidence of this assumption”, said Semyon Grigoriev. According to the head of expedition, they contacted Kevin Campbell. Canadian scientist expressed a wish to cooperate with the colleagues from Yakutia.

The samples of mammoth have been taken to Yakutsk for bacterial examination in order to detect causative agents of especially dangerous infections. The researchers suppose that the next blood and tissues analysis will give the priceless scientific materials, especially for a joint project of NEFU and Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in cloning a mammoth.