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More than a decade after their first attempt, a team of Japanese scientists have announced that they will aim to clone a woolly mammoth in the next five years. Led by Akira Iritani, the team plans on taking mammoth DNA extracted from preserved corpses found in Siberia and inserting it into African elephant eggs that have had their DNA removed. If the insertion is successful, the eggs will be placed in an adult elephant and brought to term. Kinki University’s Faculty of Biology Oriented Science and Technology tried to do exactly this three times previously, starting in 1997. Yet damage to mammoth cells due to extreme cold prevented their success. Now, another Japanese scientist, Teruhiko Wakayama of RIKEN, has developed a technique that allowed him to clone a mouse from a body frozen for 16 years. Iritani’s group is hoping that this technique will provide the missing ingredient that allows them to succeed. Work to find suitable DNA has begun, and Iritani believes they could have a walking, breathing mammoth in just five to six years. Bring on the clones!
Now, another Japanese scientist, Teruhiko Wakayama of RIKEN, has developed a technique that allowed him to clone a mouse from a body frozen for 16 years.