Russian and South Korean scientists have signed a deal on joint research intended to recreate a woolly mammoth, an animal which last walked the earth some 10,000 years ago.
The deal was signed by Vasily Vasiliev, vice rector of North-Eastern Federal University of the Sakha Republic, and controversial cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-Suk of South Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation.
Scientists aim to bring a mammoth back to life
The key mission, by opinion of another Sooam researcher, Hwang In-Sung, is to restore mammoth stem cells. 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, he said.
Sooam will use an Indian elephant for its somatic cell nucleus transfer. The somatic cells are body cells, such as those of internal organs, skin, bones and blood.
“This will be a really tough job, but we believe it is possible because our institute is good at cloning animals,” Hwang In-Sung said.
South Korean experts have previously cloned animals including a cow, a cat, dogs, a pig and a wolf.