Native Village
Youth and Education news
 Volume 3  February 2011

Can Woolly Mammoth Be Cloned From Frozen DNA?
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Woolly mammoths have been extinct for almost 10,000 years. In 5 years,they may be back.

How can this be? Scientists are planning to use frozen DNA to resurrect them.

Researchers from Japan's Kinki University have taken tissue samples from an ancient mammoth's carcass preserved under Siberia's permafrost. With help from elephants, who are the mammoth's closest modern relatives, scientists will:
 

Isolate the Mammoth's DNA

Insert that DNA into the egg cells of normal, modern African elephants.

Plant that embryo into a female elephant's womb.

After a 600-day gestation period, the surrogate mother would give birth to a baby clone of the frozen Siberian mammoth. The baby would not have any genetic relation to its surrogate mother.

The whole process will take about five years to complete. Russian and American scientists are also assisting on the project.

While remains from dinosaurs and other extinct animals have been fossilized, several woolly mammoths were frozen under ice. This preserved their muscle, skin and, most important, their DNA.

Woolly mammoths are believed to have grazed in large herds across Asia and North America. Whatever caused their species to die out is hotly debated among paleontologists. Arguments include human hunters or climate change.

If the experiment is successful, Japanese researcher Akira Iritani says the scientists have not decided if they'll put the baby mammoth on public display.

"After the mammoth is born, we'll examine its ecology and genes to study why the species became extinct and other factors," he said.

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