28,000-year-old Mammoth’s Cells Revived


via Wikimedia Commons

Woolly Mammoth

About 10,000 years ago the wooly mammoth went extinct, around when the Ice Age ended. However, they’re presence still exists on Earth. In Japan, researchers found a woolly mammoth mummified in permafrost, which was also the best-preserved mammoth remains found so far. The mammoth, which they named Yuka, was initially discovered in Siberia in 2010, but their technology was not advanced enough to properly examine. Recently, researchers were able to find well-preserved cells for their experiment. They chose 88 cells out of about 270 milligrams of Yuka’s muscle tissue. The investigation required the withdrawal of some muscle tissue and bone marrow. This allowed scientists to remove a bit of nuclei, which were placed into the mice egg cells or oocytes. Yuka’s cells started to revive and became live.

Some scientists claim that this discovery of cell revival could bring back extinct species, but researchers were posed with a new problem. Although the cells were thriving, they weren’t dividing. Cell division is what would allow the species to stay alive. Analysts weren’t too surprised though, considering the amount of time Yuka’s cells had been untouched. Now, they are focusing more on modifying the cells enough to complete cell division. For this experiment, they need to find particularly well-preserved nuclei so that they can complete their trial successfully. If cell division is accomplished, scientists could clone Yuka, and possibly move on to the many other extinct species, and even save endangered species.

The mammoths would be kept in a closed area for some time until they are examined and deemed safe for the wild, in a place called Pleistocene Park. The term Pleistocene refers to the time period in which the mammoths lived. Researchers have found that to conduct this experiment, they need to be able to have near perfect nuclei that can be altered to divide. The mammoth’s cells were completing some steps for cell division, such as spindle assembly, but was not able to do much more. Scientists know that it will take lots of more scientific discoveries about this extinction to be able to recreate the extinct species and make something similar to Jurassic Park.