The magnificent beasts shall once more roam this planet. This may be an overstatement, but South Korean and Russian scientists intend to research a proper cloning technique to recreate the wooly mammoth by trying and gestating the fertilized egg in the womb of an Indian elephant mother. The fertilization, after the required genetic modification, will be done in the lab.
Several very neatly preserved remains of mammoths, from more than 10,000 years ago, were found under the Siberian permafrost. The first step is to extract the DNA. With the DNA, the scientists are trying to recreate blood protein. If all goes well, the next step will be to create the nuclei of mammoth cells, which will contain the required genetic material. This will then be implanted in the cell of an Indian elephant. Since the two species are genetically very similar, this is the best bet! The gestation period will be 22 months. Research for this entire process should be complete by the next 5 years.
Cloning has been a long-time obsession for many geneticists. It’s a great way to showcase the giant leaps in genetics that have happened in the last 50 or so years. After the sheep Dolly, the world’s first cloned mammal and Snuppy, the first cloned dog, followed by numerous other clones like a cat and a coyote, this is the natural big leap! Even Chinese scientists are interested in this project.
There have always been raised eyebrows and pessimistic opinions about being able to ‘tinker with the very essence of life itself’. Brushing all those silly opinions aside, let us just marvel at the very prospect of a giant mammoth being resurrected.