December 6, 2011
Scientists Aim To Bring Woolly Mammoth Back To Life
Well-preserved woolly mammoth bone marrow found in a thigh bone recovered from permafrost soil in Siberia may make it possible for scientists from Japan and Russia to clone a mammoth for the first time, according to recent reports.
Teams from the Sakha Republic´s mammoth museum and Japan´s Kinki University are set to launch a jointly funded research project next year with the goal of bringing the giant mammal back to life, Japan´s Kyodo News reported. The teams believe they could possibly make a clone within five years.
The team of researchers told Kyodo News that in order to recreate the woolly mammoth, they will replace the nuclei of egg cells from a modern elephant with those taken from the mammoth marrow cells. This should produce embryos with mammoth DNA, the researchers noted. Then, the embryos will be planted into elephant wombs for delivery. Since elephants and mammoths are closely related, everything should go smoothly.
Finding nuclei with undamaged mammoth genes is a great challenge. Mammoths went extinct around 10,000 years ago, making it extremely rare to find well preserved DNA. But the newest discovery in August has increased the chances of successful cloning.
The discovery may have not been made if it were not for global warming, the scientists said. The ground in eastern Russia that is normally permanently frozen has thawed enough to lead to multiple discoveries of woolly mammoth fossils, including the one with intact bone marrow.