Cloning the Woolly Mammoth

Scientists in Sakha, Russia are attempting to bring back predecessors of the modern day elephant, the Woolly Mammoth. Woolly Mammoths became extinct approximately 4,500 years ago before the end of the last ice age but roamed the planet for more than 350,000 years. The Russian scientists are hoping that their efforts will be strengthened by their location in chilly Siberia where conditions are said to be similar to the cold conditions in which the animals survived.

The laboratory is seeking out “live cells with a view to cloning” says Semen Grigoryev, director of the Mammoth Museum at Yatska’s Northeastern Federal University. In doing so, they are partnering with the Beijing Institude of Genomics and Korea’s Soaam Biotech company. To do so, they are examining many samples in the hopes of finding quality preserved tissue from which to extract cells and DNA. If they are successful, they will pursue a long term goal of creating a “Jurassic Park” like environment with many other animals and environmental conditions set to be recreated. Some of the two thousand samples they will be using include 39000 year old Yuka (one of the most well preserved Woolly Mammoths) a 4500 year old horse, ancient bison, woolly rhinocerouses. In the past, scientists have successfully cloned, mice, goats, cows and sheep but not an extinct species.

You may remember Dolly the sheep was the first cloned mammal ever to be created from an adult cell.

Born: July 1996

Died: Feb 2003

After death Dolly was given to National Museums Scotland and her remains were conserved by their taxidermists as an exhibit.