Scientist Plans to Clone Woolly Mammoth

Scientist Plans to Clone Woolly Mammoth (Just Not For Theme Park)

Get your Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King jokes ready. A professor at Japan’s Kyoto University is claiming that he’ll be able to resurrect a woolly mammoth within roughly four years’ time, bringing new life to a species that died out more than 5,000 years prior.

Even though Dr. Akira Iritani isn’t going to attempt to duplicate DNA strains from animals trapped in amber, the technique he’s propositioning—which was already used by Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama of the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology to clone a mouse previously frozen for sixteen years—does sound fairly close to that on paper.

Iritani intends to travel up to a Russian mammoth research laboratory this summer in order to acquire the correct tissue from a frozen mammoth. If he can uncover a working sample of at least three square centimeters, he’ll claims that he’ll be able to insert the nuclei of the frozen mammoth cells into the egg cells of an African elephant. Following a 600-day gestation period, out pops a new woolly mammoth—in theory.

“Now that the technical problems have been overcome, all we need is a good sample of soft tissue from a frozen mammoth,” said Iritani in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

“The success rate in the cloning of cattle was poor until recently but now stands at about 30 per cent,” he later said. “I think we have a reasonable chance of success and a healthy mammoth could be born in four or five years.”

Previous attempts to clone the frozen cells of woolly mammoths have failed as a result of the condition of the cells found: extensively damaged by the frozen conditions of the corpse itself. However, Iritani is hopeful that Wakayama’s technique—the first frozen-cloning of its kind—will prove successful. But the creation of a real-life woolly mammoth does pose its own new set of logistical challenges.

“If a cloned embryo can be created, we need to discuss, before transplanting it into the womb, how to breed it and whether to display it to the public,” said Iritani in an interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun. “After the mammoth is born, we’ll examine its ecology and genes to study why the species became extinct and other factors.”

Not to mention the fact that a working woolly mammoth could reach a height of 13.1 feet tall and a weight of up to eight tons.

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