Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 30 January 2011





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Wooly mammoths may roam again!

Japanese scientist and Russian team intend cloning a mammoth in five years.

Prof. Akira Iritani of Japan and a team of Russian researchers are preparing to clone a healthy mammoth within five years.

They intend to resurrect the species after obtaining tissue in the summer of 2011 from the carcass of a mammoth preserved in a Russian mammoth research laboratory. Afterwards, they will insert the nuclei of mammoth cells into an elephant’s egg cells from which the nuclei have been removed. The result will be an embryo containing mammoth genes. Then they will insert the embryo into an elephant’s womb. The gestation period will last two years, after which the team hopes a baby mammoth will be born.Mammoths have been extinct for about 10,000 years.

Mammoths and mammoth remains have been found under Russia’s Siberian permafrost. There has been speculation about cloning mammoths among Russian and Japanese scientists for several years now, but some dismissed the notion, saying the whole cells required for cloning would have burst under the freezing conditions. Now apparently a technological breakthrough has been made. Some estimate that 150 million mammoth remains lie beneath the permafrost in Siberia.

Japanese scientists believe they have the technology and know-how to create a living woolly mammoth.

The key is soft tissue. Unlike older extinct species like the dinosaur family, scientists have been able to dig up entire frozen mammoth carcasses in Siberia, most of which still have soft tissue with cells containing DNA.The key breakthrough is a new technique that allows the scientists to extract DNA from frozen cells. Previously, frozen cells were thought to be too damaged (by the freezing process) to use for things like cloning.“If a cloned embryo can be created, we need to discuss, before transplanting it into the womb, how to breed (the mammoth) and whether to display it to the public, Iritani said.

“After the mammoth is born, we will examine its ecology and genes to study why the species became extinct and other factors.”There is debate among the science community how exactly mammoths went extinct.Some believe that humans hunted the creatures to extinction while others believe that climate change did the furry elephants in.

Courtesy: AFP and

LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka
Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL)
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