YAKUTSK, March 17. /TASS/. The first attempt at extracting the nucleus of an intact dead cell of a mammoth, unearthed in Yakutia, with the aim of cloning the prehistoric animal has failed, the chief of the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, Dr. Hwang Woo Sul, of South Korea, has told TASS.
"We have identified intact cells in the skin of the Malolyakhov Mammoth, discovered in Yakutia in 2013. But during an attempt to extract the nucleus they were destroyed. Here, in Yakutia we shall take more samples for further research. We shall keep trying to extract the cell’s nuclei with a view to cloning a mammoth," Dr. Hwang said.
Some scientists believe that theoretically the extraction of the nucleus from a dead cell is a possibility, but no researcher has succeeded in doing this so far.
Further research of mammoth cells will be held in cooperation with the Yakutia-based North-Eastern Federal University, where Russia’s first-ever centre for studying the DNAs of mammoth and other fossil species opened on Tuesday.
"The University has all required know-hows and knowledge for further research into mammoth cells," Dr. Hwan said.
The chief of the Museum of the Mammoth at the North Eastern Federal University, Semyon Grigoriev, believes that it may take about three years to extract the nucleus from a mammoth’s cell.
"The research done in South Korea is very important to us. But more complex work is ahead for us. It may last two or three years," he said.
Yakutsk keeps some unique paleontological finds, still to be studied at the just-unveiled centre: the remains of a fossil horse, a pre-historic dog, an ancient bison and its baby. More paleonthololgical expeditions will be arranged for in the near future.