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Cloning the Woolly Mammoth
The Lyakhovsky Islands off the Siberian coast are a frozen landscape most of the year. Recently, it finally yielded to Russian scientists a near perfect specimen from the prehistoric age- a woolly mammoth. It has been over 10,000 years since they last roamed across areas of North America and Russia before climate change led them to extinction.
The creature size was up to 13 feet and weighed around 10 tons. The female specimen found was no different and the carcass was in such a preserved state because of the 15F temperature at the time it died, scientists may be able to clone it. When found, the body was in pure ice and blood was found in the ice cavities. More amazing is that when diggers poked into the bellows, the blood actually flowed out! Russian scientists remained shocked.
Because the blood contains living cells, they feel there is a good chance to be able to clone a living woolly mammoth. But that is not all, the mammoth's muscle tissue was in perfect condition because of ice and appeared like "fresh meat" red in color.
By 2008, scientists had mapped nearly 97% of the DNA of the mammoth from frozen hair strands found in ice. The biggest recorded find of these animals was in Siberia, more than 8,000 bones from at least 140 mammoths have been found in a single spot, apparently having been swept there by the current of a raging river. By 1929, the remains of 34 mammoths with frozen soft tissues (skin, flesh, or organs) had been documented but only four complete ones existed.
As the climate continues to heat the world and the ice melts, hunters have found mammoth tusks. A tusk can range from 10-13 foot in length and a top-grade mammoth tusk is worth around $400 per pound.
The Russian-South Korean find has the Koreans anxious about trying to clone one from the cells. That remains to be seen but just think if they are able to! The find remains the best ever find of prehistoric animal. Based on this find, the South Koreans hope to attempt a cloning by removing the DNA nucleus of a modern elephant egg cell and replaced with a nucleus from woolly mammoth tissue. The cell would then be stimulated into dividing, and inserted back into a female elephant. If it works, the newborn elephant would have genes of the woolly mammoth. The other method is artificial insemination of a modern egg with DNA from the mammoth. The result would be an elephant hybrid.