Scientists Plan to Clone a Real, Living Woolly Mammoth in Five Years (Again)

Talk of cloning is in the air again, and it’s all about our favorite prehistoric hairy mammal, the woolly mammoth. This time, researchers are teaming up to clone a real, living and breathing mammoth using DNA extracted from the bone marrow of recently found well-preserved thighbone.

Russian researchers from the Sakha Republic's mammoth museum and Japanese scientists from Kinki University are teaming up to make the cloned mammoth a reality within five years. The teams of researchers announced that they will begin a joint project next year to resurrect the massive mammal that went extinct over 10,000 years ago.

If any of this sounds familiar, that’s because Professor Akani Iritani of Kyoto University gave a similar “within in five years prediction” back in January of this year. But this time it sounds like the researchers may actually have workable DNA thanks to a new set of bones found in thawing permafrost of the Siberia.

There is still plenty to be skeptical about, since the researchers have only begun to analyze the marrow. On top of that, the cloning method involves replacing the nuclei of an elephant egg with mammoth DNA. After scientists create the spliced embryo, it needs to be carried to term and delivered by a pregnant elephant. Complicated enough?

But if these scientist manage to pull off cloning extinct animals; it could lead to a bring back the dodo, that giant beaver, and, of course, dinosaurs (just don't turn off that electric fence).

[Kyodo News via Discovery News and Popular Science / Photo: radim99 on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)]

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