Mammoth Task: Plan To Clone Ice Age Beast
Sky News – 9:26pm UK, Tuesday March 13, 2012
South Korean and Russian scientists have vowed to work together in an attempt to clone a woolly mammoth from remains found in Siberia.
The giant Ice Age animal last roamed the Earth some 10,000 years ago – but experts believe it is possible to bring it back to life.
Vasily Vasiliev, from Russia’s North Eastern Federal University of the Sakha Republic, and Hwang Woo-Suk of South Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation have agreed to join forces to research the mammoth task.
The new pact comes after scientists resurrected an ancient flower from fruit and seeds hidden in an Ice Age squirrel’s burrow in permafrost.
The researchers said their results proved that permafrost serves as a natural depository for ancient life forms.
Experts in South Korea and Russia now plan to take DNA from the remains of a woolly mammoth uncovered by the thawing Siberian permaforst.
They plan to insert it into the egg cell of an Indian elephant to hopefully produce an embryo, which will then be placed into the womb of an elephant for gestation.
“The first and hardest mission is to restore mammoth cells,” Sooam researcher Hwang In-Sung said.
“This will be a really tough job, but we believe it is possible because our institute is good at cloning animals.”
South Korean scientists have previously cloned animals including a cow, a cat, dogs, a pig and a wolf.
However, Sooam’s leading clone researcher, Hwang Woo-Suk is controversial figure in South Korea.
In 2005 he created Snuppy, the world’s first cloned dog, and last October he reportedly cloned the endangered American coyote.
But his 2004 research into the creation of human stem cells from a cloned embryo was recently found to have been faked.