01 September 2015


The main task of the laboratory will be to search for living cells for subsequent cloning. First of all, the researchers plan to revive mammoths. To do this, the Northeastern Federal University, the South Korean Foundation for Biotechnological Research Sooam and the Beijing Institute of Genomics have joined their efforts.

According to Alexey Tikhonov, the chief expert on mammoths in Russia, director of the Zoological Museum of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, it will take more than a decade for the goal to be achieved.

"It is important to separate the concepts: obtaining a live mammoth and cloning techniques. Because it is impossible to clone a mammoth, as Dolly the sheep was cloned, at all – there are no living cells in the permafrost. But in the permafrost of Siberia and Alaska – fantastic preservation of tissues. We can take small pieces of DNA and from them, as geneticists are already doing, "stitch" a fully nuclear mammoth genome," Alexey Tikhonov said on Sputnik radio.

According to him, scientists will apply the technique of creating transgenic organisms.

"In fact, the technique of obtaining a transgenic elephant will follow: on the basis of the mammoth nuclear genome, a kind of nucleus is created, it is implanted into the elephant's cage, then the cell is delivered to her body. The elephant must bear and give birth to a cub," the specialist explained.

But at this stage, in his opinion, scientists will have to solve a number of difficult issues.

"Firstly, living elephants are very distant relatives of mammoths, and they are not just different species, but representatives of different genera of the elephant family. So far, interbreeding has not brought any results. Secondly, in order to get a live baby elephant, you need not one egg, but several dozen, or even hundreds - after all, an egg may not take root, it does not always develop into a fetus, and so on," Alexey Tikhonov noted.

According to him, there is no special need for scientists to clone extinct species of ancient animals, this is done as an experiment.

"It's just a fetish that allows geneticists and other scientists who work in similar fields to develop their techniques and develop successfully. This is a training ground that can later be used in various studies," Alexey Tikhonov said.

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