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Japanese Research team ‘wakes up’ mammoth cell nuclei

Published: March 13, 2019
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Source: The Japan News

New findings indicate that the resurrection of mammoths is not a fantasy, a research team including members from Kindai University is saying, after cell nuclei extracted from the 28,000-year-old remains of a woolly mammoth were discovered to retain some function.

When placed in the ova of mice, the nuclei developed to a state just before cellular division, according to a paper published Monday in the British journal Scientific Reports.

The team includes researchers from Japanese and Russian universities. It has been working for about 20 years on a project to use cloning to resurrect mammoths, an animal that has long been extinct.

The cell nuclei used in the team’s recent findings were extracted from musculature and other tissue from Yuka, an about 3.5-meter-long female woolly mammoth excavated nearly intact in 2010 from permafrost in Siberia. 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.

Cell nuclei contain DNA, the so-called blueprint for life, and mouse ova have been confirmed in experiments to have a reparative function for DNA. It is said to be possible that the mammoth’s DNA, damaged as a result of being frozen for a long time, was repaired and its biological functions invigorated.

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