Wed, Mar 14, 2012 - Page 6 News List

Scientists ink joint bid to clone woolly mammoth

AFP, SEOUL

Russian and South Korean scientists signed a deal yesterday on joint research intended to recreate a woolly mammoth, an animal that last walked the earth about 10,000 years ago.

The deal was signed by North-Eastern Federal University of the Sakha Republic vice rector Vasily Vasilie and controversial cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-suk of South Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation.

Hwang was a national hero until some of his research into creating human stem cells was found in 2006 to have been faked. However, his work in creating Snuppy, the world’s first cloned dog, in 2005, has been verified by experts.

Stem cell scientists are now setting their sights on the extinct woolly mammoth, after global warming thawed Siberia’s permafrost and uncovered remains of the animal.

Sooam said it would launch research this year if the Russian university can ship the remains. The Beijing Genomics Institute will also take part in the project.

The South Korean foundation said it would transfer technology to the Russian university, which has already been involved in joint research with Japanese scientists to bring a mammoth back to life.

“The first and hardest mission is to restore mammoth cells,” Sooam researcher Hwang In-sung said.

His colleagues would join Russian scientists in trying to find well-preserved tissue with an undamaged gene.

By replacing the nuclei of egg cells from an elephant with those taken from the mammoth’s somatic cells, embryos with mammoth DNA could be produced and planted into elephant wombs for delivery.

This story has been viewed 2047 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top