Published: Wed, March 13, 2019
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Scientists are one step closer to reviving woolly mammoths

Scientists are one step closer to reviving woolly mammoths

Researchers from Japan and Russian Federation observed biological activity when they transplanted cell nuclei from a woolly mammoth from the Siberian permafrost into the eggs of mice, moving a step closer to the goal of bringing the extinct mammal back to life.

This photo provided by Kindai University shows the remains of the mammoth calf Yuka that researchers used to extract nuclei from muscle cells. While there won't be any woolly mammoths rising from the grave soon, the experiment could help scientists explore alternative resurrection methods in the future.

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.

The project by an worldwide team took cell nuclei from a well-preserved mammoth discovered in 2011 in Siberian permafrost and placed them into several dozen mouse egg cells.

This time, they found Yuka's remains had not been contaminated, allowing them to collect 88 nucleus-like structures from the animal.


"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.

"The mammoth nuclei showed the spindle assembly, histone incorporation and partial nuclear formation; however, the full activation of nuclei for cleavage was not confirmed", the team wrote in their study.

But unfortunately, the team is "very far" from "recreating a mammoth".

Even though the team couldn't generate cell division needed for a woolly mammoth rebirth, the team aims to try new approaches to bring the creatures back to life down the line. "There's a chance, if we can obtain better-preserved nuclei".

Following the procedure, the scientists reported a "pronucleus-like structure budded from the injected ... mammoth nucleus".

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