By Tim Binnall
A team of researchers in Japan have taken a significant step towards possibly bringing the long-extinct woolly mammoth back to life. The breakthrough reportedly came when scientists managed to extract cell nuclei from the frozen remains of one of the famed creatures that had been recovered from the permafrost of Siberia. Incredibly, in what sounds like a scene from a science fiction film, when this 28,000-year-old material was injected into mouse ova, it began to stir.
Specifically, the researchers say that, in 5 out of 43 instances, a "pronucleus-like structure budded" from the cross-millennial concoction containing the ancient mammoth material. Although the biological process stopped short of the next step, which would be cell division, the scientists were hopeful that the activity indicated that the damaged cell nuclei could be naturally repaired. The team now hope to move beyond where their experiment came to an end and cautioned that their results are almost more of a 'proof of concept' at this point.
To that end, before one starts imagining a world in which the iconic creatures once again roam the planet, one of the scientists behind the project flatly stated that "it would be difficult to resurrect a mammoth as things stand." He pointed to the extensive damaged inflicted upon the DNA from this particular specimen due to it being frozen for so long, but posited that "there's a chance, if we can obtain better-preserved nuclei." With that in mind, we'll keep our fingers crossed that someone in Siberia will stumble upon a more pristine mammoth carcass which wiould allow for the long-dreamed-of scenario of reviving the legendary creature to finally happen.