World to welcome back woolly mammoth by 2016

But surely Mr. Snuffleupagus is alive and well. Image: Jim Linwood/Flickr.

According to Professor Akira Iritani of Kyoto University, a cloning technique pioneered in 2008 by Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama of the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology should enable him to bring the woolly mammoth back from extinction within the next five years.

The process in question was used by Dr. Wakayama to successfully clone a mouse from another mouse frozen for a period of 16 years—thereby overcoming the scientific hurdle associated with prolonged tissue damage when exposed to extremely cold temperatures.

With the effects of cold damage apparently no longer an issue, Dr. Iritani told UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph that all he needs “is a good sample of soft tissue” from a frozen mammoth in order to clone the mighty pachyderm.

Once a sample has been recovered and Dr. Wakayama’s technique has been applied in order to isolate healthy nuclei, an African elephant will be used as a surrogate host for the woolly mammoth during a gestation period of around 600 days.

Based on ongoing cold-beating experiments focusing on cattle, Dr. Iritani believes his chances of successfully cloning a woolly mammoth presently stand at around 30 percent.

He has also said a scientific research team will begin scouring Siberia in the summer for a viable tissue sample. If that search proves fruitless, he will contact Russian scientists in the hope of extracting nuclei from one of their already recovered samples.

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