Home / NEWS / Jurassic Park Just Got Real: Now Scientists Have Brought 28,000-Year-Old Woolly Mammoth Cells Back to Life

Jurassic Park Just Got Real: Now Scientists Have Brought 28,000-Year-Old Woolly Mammoth Cells Back to Life

By Andrew Alpin, 14 July

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In 2011, a baby woolly mammoth was found stuck in the permanent ice of Siberia. This was a nearly complete specimen of a species that had been extinct for almost 4,000 years was a big deal, especially since this one was 28,000 years old. But scientists were eager to find out if the mammoth’s biological elements are still alive today. Now, scientists at Japan’s Kindai University have found that most of its DNA is still there, which means they are close to bringing this huge prehistoric animal back to life.

In any case, experts at the university were able to take nuclei from the mammoth’s cells and put them into mouse oocytes, which are cells in the ovaries that can divide genetically to make an egg cell. After that, the cells from the 28,000-year-old thing started to show “signs of biological processes.”

1 A time-lapse video of mammoth nuclei being put into mouse oocyte cells

The study’s author, Kei Miyamoto of Kindai University’s Department of Genetic Engineering, said, “This shows that cell activity may still exist and parts of it can be replicated even after years have gone.”

Five of the cells even did very strange and interesting things, like showing signs of activity that is usually only seen right before a cell divides.

A time-lapse video of mammoth nuclei being put into mouse oocyte cells

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2 The experiment wasn’t easy at all

It wasn’t easy to figure out if the DNA from the mammoth could still work. First, the scientists took bone marrow and muscle from the animal’s leg. These were then looked at to see if there were any intact structures that looked like nuclei. If there were, they were taken out.

After putting these nuclei cells within mouse oocytes and mouse proteins together, it was found that some of the baby woolly mammoth cells were fully able to rebuild their nuclei. In the end, this showed that there might be active nuclei in mammoth bones that are 28,000 years old. So, bringing a creature like this one back to life is not entirely impossible.

The experiment wasn’t easy at all

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3 Researchers are now hopeful that their attempts to revive woolly mammoths will be successful

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Miyamoto says, “we are very far from reconstructing a mammoth.” Still, many researchers who are trying to do it through genome editing are hopeful that success is on the horizon. Recent efforts, which use the controversial CRISPR technique to change genes, are probably the most promising.

But is it really necessary to bring back a species that hasn’t lived for a long time?

Researchers are now hopeful that their attempts to revive woolly mammoths will be successful

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