Scientists Make Huge Leap in Raising Woolly Mammoths From the Dead

Frozen 28,000-year-old woolly mammoth cells come back to life but only briefly

Frozen 28,000-year-old woolly mammoth cells come back to life but only briefly

But boffins in Japan reckon they could roam the Earth once again after making a massive breakthrough.

Researchers from Kindai University in Osaka extracted bone marrow and muscle tissue from a long-frozen beast and injected it into the ovaries of a mouse, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Scientific Reports.

Japanese scientists say they have taken a "significant step" towards reviving the extinct furry giants, woolly mammoths, after they managed to transplant cells taken from the carcass of a 28,000-year-old mummified mammoth into a mouse, which then, extraordinarily, showed positive biological activity.

"Yuka's cell nuclei were more damaged than we thought, and it would be hard to resurrect a mammoth as things stand", said team member Kei Miyamoto, a lecturer in developmental biology at Kindai University. When inserted into mouse ova, five out of 43 nuclei were observed to develop to a point just before the nuclei would split in two as a result of cell division.

The 39,000-year-old mummified remains of a young woolly mammoth included an intact brain with its folds and blood vessels visible. Image courtesy Anastasia Kharlamova

Miyamoto and his colleagues are working with researchers in Russian Federation to bring mammoths back to life using cloning technology called somatic cell nuclear transfer.

While some evidence of biological processes were seen, the damage the elements had on the cells are not enough for bringing the mammoth back to life, eschewing any kind of "Jurassic Park-style resurrection" that many have hoped for, Miyamoto said.

Highlighting that they "still have a long way to go" before the species returns to existence, he added: "We want to move our study forward to the stage of cell division".

The worldwide research team led by Akira Iritani, a professor emeritus at Kindai University here, published the research results on March 11 in the British magazine Scientific Reports.

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