The Telegraph has reported that the long extinct woolly mammoth could be brought back to life in as little as four years thanks to a breakthrough in cloning technology.
Previous efforts in the 1990s to recover nuclei in cells from the skin and muscle tissue from frozen woolly mammoths found in the Siberian permafrost failed because they had been too badly damaged by the extreme cold in which they had been encased for thousands of years.
But, in 2008, a technique pioneered by Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama — of the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology — was successful in cloning a mouse from the cells of another mouse that had been frozen for 16 years.
Now that hurdle has been overcome a professor at Kyoto University, Professor Akira Iritani, is reactivating his campaign to resurrect the species that died out 5,000 years ago:
“Now the technical problems have been overcome, all we need is a good sample of soft tissue from a frozen mammoth.”
He intends to use Wakayama’s technique to identify the nuclei of viable mammoth cells before extracting the healthy ones.The nuclei will then be inserted into the egg cells of an African elephant, which will act as the surrogate mother for the mammoth, possibly making the creature FORMERLY EXTINCT.
Iritani has announced plans to travel to Siberia in the summer to search for mammoths in the permafrost and to recover a sample of skin or tissue. If he is unsuccessful, he will ask Russian scientists to provide a sample from one of their finds:
“The success rate in the cloning of cattle was poor until recently but now stands at about 30 percent. I think we have a reasonable chance of success and a healthy mammoth could be born in four or five years.”