Cloning The Woolly Mammoth – Fact Or Fiction?

Japanese and Russian scientists are starting a project similar to Jurassic Park. They have decided to join their efforts in order to successfully clone the Woolly Mammoth, which has been extinct for thousands of years. The scientists consider that a well preserved bone from the thigh (found on August 2011) may contain well preserved cells. These cells may be the starting point that the project needs. The team believes that the cloning process may be completed over the next five years. Other scientists, however, doubt that such ambitious project may be possible.

The team is joined by members of the Siberian Woolly Mammoth Museum and scientists from the Kinki University of Japan. The team plans to extract a cell from the animal’s bone and then combine it with African elephant’s DNA. Similar projects have been made in the past, with different, less than satisfying results.

Back in 2009, an extinct goat species was brought back to life briefly using ten year old DNA from the animal’s skin. The creature died minutes after being born, due to respiratory problems. The Roslin Institute, famous for cloning a sheep named Dolly, no longer gets involved in cloning projects; however, they made certain observations about the future woolly mammoth project. They assure such experiment is highly improbable of succeeding, especially when using African elephant DNA as a substitute: “First, a substitute mother is needed. For the woolly mammoth, it should be a cow (because of their biological compatibility). The problem is that the difference in both species’ sizes will make gestation impossible”. They also mentioned that such experiment has an extremely low chance of success, between 1% and 5%.

However, other experts seem to be more optimists towards the ambitious project. Charles Foster, researcher from the Green Templeton College in Oxford, mentions: “The idea of cloning a woolly mammoth is not completely ridiculous. We really don’t know how the Mammoth’s DNA will interact with the African elephant’s genetic code”. Even if the experiment is successful, the result would be closer to a hybrid than a pure Woolly Mammoth cloning.

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A Russian University has recently informed that a team of international researchers has recently discovered wool, and spinal cord from a mammoth buried 100 meters underground. The findings were discovered on a Siberian providence from Yakutia. The cells seem to be excellently preserved. The team that leads the current Woolly Mammoth cloning project will be delighted to hear this news.

Mable Thomas wasn’t always a cubicle dweller.When she isn’t writing code or debugging software, she’s guest blogging for VirtualPersonalAssistants.org, a US based Virtual Personal Assistant company based out of Atlanta. She is also a black belt in Kung Fu. For more information on Mable, vist our website.

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