A Japanese scientist plans to have cloned a woolly mammoth in about four to five years.
This will not be the first time that someone has tried to clone a woolly mammoth. Scientists tried to clone the prehistoric animal back in the 1990’s, but failed because the tissue sample had been frozen for over 5,000 years and was too degraded.
In 2008, Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama created a technique where a mammal can be cloned from soft tissue that has been frozen for long periods of time.
Using this method, Wakayama successfully cloned a mouse from cells that were frozen for 16 years.
Professor Akani Iritani of Kyoto University, along with a Russian mammoth researcher and two U.S. African elephant experts, is planning on using this technique to clone the mammoth using a sample from a preserved mammoth carcass in a Russian laboratory.
To clone the mammoth, Iritani is going to extract the nuclei from the tissue sample and inject them into the egg cells of a female African elephant to make an embryo with mammoth DNA.
After the embryo has the mammoth DNA, the U.S. African elephant experts will then implant the embryo into an African elephant. Then, they will wait and hope that a healthy baby mammoth is born.
While doing this, Iritani will have to stay to a close schedule and he will only have a little over two years to unfreeze the DNA, fertilize the egg, and implant it in the elephant.