2011 Scientists from South Korea and Russia have signed onto a project that looks to bring back the wooly mammoth (also known as the Tundra mammoth) from extinction. Like they didn’t learn a lesson from watching the Jurassic Park movies?
Even more controversial than the storyline is the participation of a disgraced cloning expert from South Korea in the project. Hwang Woo-Suk, now with South Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, was found to have falsified data claiming a stem cell research breakthrough and then forced to resign his post at Seoul National University in 2009. Still, Suk continues to enjoy notoriety in his native country as the first scientist to clone a dog. Now the question is can his use that expertise to reproduce a long time extinct animal and the chances may hinge on a variable entirely out of his hands.
This isn’t the first time scientists have set their sights on cloning a mammoth. Scientists in Russia researching the project have had their progress blocked by not having nuclei with undamaged mammoth genes. That changed last August when paleontologists reported discovering a well-preserved mammoth’s thigh bone in Siberia, raising the chances for a successful cloning procedure. Assuming that the researchers can find nuclei with undamaged genes, they would implant the embryos into elephant wombs for delivery. Although mammoths became extinct about 10,000 years ago, they are considered to be close enough relatives to the modern elephant.
You know what that means don’t u? Manny from the Ice Age movies will live. Will the mammoth be as cute as the one I have pictured here?