Russian scientists are looking forward to combine living cells from wooly mammoth remains with the egg from an Asian elephant. The unique discovery was made by the Project Mammoth Revival, a Russian-funded research venture which aims to clone the prehistoric creature.
To make the project a reality, the Russian researchers have signed a deal with the Beijing Genomics Institute and the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in Seoul, South Korea. “We are mostly interested in using the skin in Project Mammoth Revival, as our Korean colleagues believe that skin is the best material for attempted cloning by extraction of viable cells”, the report said. However, scientists are yet to get success in finding a high-quality “living” cells from wooly mammoth remains.
“The skin is especially interesting for the “Revival of the Mammoth” project”. According to him, the newly discovered skins were project’s best bet for finding living cells for cloning. The skin specimen was uncovered in the Lyakhovsky Islands which is thought to be one of the last refuges for the large beasts before they became extinct. The explorations focused on the Bolshoi Lyakhovsky Island where numerous exhibits were collected.
Even though researchers are excited about the project, they fear that the resultant cloned creatures could end up with a myriad of health issues. “The largest concentration of remains in the world is here, so that’s why we chose this area to carry out our studies”, Grigorev told on Wednesday.
But that might be changing soon, as researchers have recently announced they could be able to sequence a woolly mammoth genome from remarkably preserved DNA taken from skin samples of six woolly mammoth fossils recovered during an expedition to the Lyakhovsky Islands in the Arctic, just off the coast of Siberia.
Meanwhile, researchers at Harvard University have already managed to copy 14 genes from a woolly mammoth into the genome of an Asian elephant. The experiment could lead to the development of a mammoth-elephant hybrid.