Mammoth Cloning

Mammoth 'could be reborn in four years'

The woolly mammoth, extinct for thousands of years, could be brought back to life in as little as four years thanks to a breakthrough in cloning technology.

This is not the first time scientists have dreamed Jurassic Park-esque fantasies--previous attempts to clone the woolly mammoth failed in the 1990's, mainly because soft tissue extracted from the ice had been, well, frozen for over 5,000 years (and so the DNA was damaged).

However, in 2008 Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama of Kobe's Riken Center for Developmental Biology, pioneered a technique for cloning mammals from frozen soft tissue. Wakayama's technique was successfully implemented in cloning a mouse from the cells of a mouse that had been frozen for 16 years.

Iritani plans to use Wakayama's technique to first identify viable mammoth cells, and then extract the nuclei of the estimated 2 to 3 percent that will be in good condition. Iritani plans to obtain the mammoth tissue from a mammoth preserved in a Russian research laboratory, the Yomiuri Shinbun reports.

The extracted nuclei will then be injected into the (we assume fertilized) egg cells of a female African elephant, to create an embryo with mammoth DNA.

Center for Developmental Biology

Genomic Reprogramming 
Teruhiko Wakayama
A limitless number of clones of animal can be generated from its somatic cells. Only a few years ago, such a statement would have belonged to the realm of science fiction, but now thanks to advances in the tehnology known as micromanipulation, which allows researchers to work with individual cells and their nuclei, that fiction has become reality. 

Transfer of a somatic nucleus into an enucleated egg

Somatic cell nuclear transfer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In genetics and developmental biology, somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is a laboratory technique for creating a clonal embryo, using an ovum with a donor nucleus (see process below). It can be used in embryonic stem cell research, or, potentially, in regenerative medicine where it is sometimes referred to as "therapeutic cloning". It can also be used as the first step in the process of reproductive cloning.