Woolly Mammoth Cloning

December 7, 2011 by staff 

Woolly Mammoth CloningWoolly Mammoth Cloning, Within five years, a woolly mammoth will likely be cloned, according to scientists who have just recovered well-preserved bone marrow in a mammoth thigh bone. Japan’s Kyodo News first reported the find. You can see photos of the thigh bone at this Kyodo page.

Russian scientist Semyon Grigoriev, acting director of the Sakha Republic’s mammoth museum, and colleagues are nowanlyzing the marrow, which they extracted from the mammoth’s femur, found in Siberian permafrost soil.

Grigoriev and his team, along with colleagues from Japan’s Kinki University, have announced that they will launch a joint research project next year aimed at re-creating the enormous mammal, which went extinct around 10,000 years ago.

Mammoths used to be a common sight on the landscape of North America and Eurasia. One of my favorite papers of recent months concerned the earliest-known depiction of an animal from the Americas. It was a mammoth engraved on a mammoth bone. Many of our distant ancestors probably had regular face-to-face encounters with the elephant-like giants.

The key to cloning the woolly mammoth is to replace the nuclei of egg cells from an elephant with those extracted from the mammoth’s bone marrow cells. Doing this, according to the researchers, can result in embryos with mammoth DNA. That’s actually been known for a while.

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