Scientists Make Huge Leap in Raising Woolly Mammoths From the Dead

13 Mars, 2019, 04:53 | Auteur: Therese Cote

The cell nuclei used in the team's recent findings were extracted from muscle and other tissue from Yuka, a female woolly mammoth about 3.5 metres long excavated almost intact in 2010 from permafrost in Siberia.

Researchers from Japan and Russian Federation observed biological activity when they transplanted cell nuclei from a woolly mammoth from the Siberian permafrost into the eggs of mice, moving a step closer to the goal of bringing the extinct mammal back to life. While there won't be any woolly mammoths rising from the grave soon, the experiment could help scientists explore alternative resurrection methods in the future.

The last woolly mammoth herds disappeared over 4,000 years ago due to drastic climate change, but the big prehistoric creatures could soon be back, wandering the Earth like they did during the ice age. From there, scientists injected the structures into mouse oocytes, described as a cell in an ovary which can undergo genetic division, according to the Independent.

First, an analysis showed that nucleus-like structures were present in the animal's muscle tissue and then, additional tests revealed that its remains were not contaminated for 28,000 years. With a live-cell imaging technique, the team watched to see what would happen to the "awakened" cells.

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But "these results indicate that a part of mammoth nuclei possesses the potential for nuclear reconstitution", the scientists wrote in the paper published by Nature.

The confirmed activity, similar to the one that occurs right before a cell divides, was likely possible because of the ability of mouse oocytes to restore DNA, they said.

But unfortunately, the team is "very far" from "recreating a mammoth".

Fast forward thousands of years and the woolly mammoth may once again make an appearance on this planet - after Japanese scientists claim to have taken a "significant step" towards bringing the long-extinct animals back to life.

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