28,000-year-old Woolly mammoth cells return back to life through new scientific experiment | Knowledge Trend

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28,000-year-old Woolly mammoth cells return back to life

Cells from the remains of a woolly mammoth that died over 28,000 years have shown signs of life after a group of scientists/researchers experimented on it. The research was carried out by a group of scientists from different countries at Kindai University in Japan.


Wooly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) are an extinct species of mammoth that lived from about 300,000 years until about 10,000 years ago. The specie roamed the cold tundra of Asia, Europe, and North America during the Pleistocene ice ages.


The woolly mammoth was known for its large size, fur, and imposing tusks that resemble that of an elephant. Fossil records show that the wooly mammoth had been extinct over 4000 years ago.


In 2011, a baby wooly mammoth was discovered in the Siberian permafrost. After several types of research, scientists discovered that the DNA of the 28,000-year-old frozen baby mammoth was still intact.

Frozen mammoth calf cells resurrect after scientific experiment

Scientists around the world have studied the cells and biological structures of prehistoric and fossil samples, but none have attempted to resurrect a wooly mammoth until now. The discovery of the intact units of the mammoth’s DNA was a great move toward this new goal.


The researchers transplanted the cells of the wooly mammoth into mouse oocytes. The oocytes are located in the ovaries and can generate egg cells through meiosis, a form of genetic division. It was after this process that the mammoth cells began to show signs of life with functional biological processes.


The scientists also extracted cells from the bone marrow of the animal and several cells from the ancient creature with intact DNA structure and combined them with mouse oocytes and some proteins. Signs of nuclear division and functional nuclei were observed in all the intact cells of the mammoth. None of the cells, however, produced the actual cell division needed for a mammoth rebirth


Many researchers are attempting to bring back the mammoth from extinction, however, Kei Miyamoto, an author and one of the researchers at the Department of Genetic Engineering, Kindai University, during an interview with AFP stated “we are very far from reconstructing a mammoth”.

28,000-year-old Woolly mammoth discovered from siberian permafrost.

"We have also learned that damage to cells was very profound. We are yet to see even cell divisions. I have to say we are very far from recreating a mammoth", Miyamoto concluded.


This research is a milestone discovery. Scientists believe that the wooly mammoth cannot walk among us for now because we do not have the needed technology to recreate cells from fossils and prehistoric samples. The discovery, however, is a way forward to the new  scientific effort to restore extinct species back to our world.

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