First ‘living’ cells found of a woolly mammoth, raising hopes extinct animal could be cloned
- Discovery of best preserved cells ever found raises hopes a mammoth could be cloned from tissue, bone marrow and hair found
- Animal was found 100 metres under permafrost, and is believed to be at least 10,000 years old
- ‘Living cells’ could help scientists unlock mammoths’ complete DNA sequence – essential for cloning
Perfectly preserved cells from a woolly mammoth have been found in Siberia, bringing closer the prospect of a cloned comeback for the iconic tusked creature.
An international team of researchers discovered the unique material in a permafrost mammoth graveyard in remote Yakutia, in the east of Russia.
The find last month includes ‘soft, fatty tissue, hair, bone marrow of the mammoth’, said the Semyon Grigoryev, Director of the Mammoth Museum at the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, who led the expedition.
More importantly, the find is said to include ‘living cells’ – the first time this has been achieved with mammoths. These cells are a huge boon for scientists as DNA is destroyed in frozen cells – and a creature’s complete DNA code is required for cloning.
The exceptionally preserved material was found at a depth of 100 metres and is likely to have been preserved in the permafrost for 10,000 years or more.
An international team of scientists who made the find in August consider the material, which they refer to as ‘live cells’ can be used in cloning, said the Siberian Times.
‘The expedition also established close ties between scientists from different countries.
‘This data will be published in reputable scientific journals.
‘A detailed film will be seen next year on the National Geographic channel,’ a participant told RIA Novosti news agency.