Russia: New laboratory to study mammoth cloning
By News from Elsewhere...BBC
Russia has opened a laboratory in Siberia
devoted to the study of extinct animal DNA in the hope of creating clones, it's
reported.The new lab in Yakutsk - often called the world's coldest city - will
"seek out live cells with a view to cloning", says Semen Grigoryev,
director of the Mammoth Museum at the city's Northeastern Federal University.
He tells Ogonek magazine
that "the priority is to look into bringing back the mammoth", adding
that the Beijing Institute of Genomics and South Korea's Sooam Biotech company,
which has pioneered dog cloning, will be involved in the study.
Earlier this year, researchers at Harvard University announced
they had copied
14 woolly mammoth genes into the genome of an Asian
elephant. The scientists at Yakutsk's new facility hope that their own
unrivalled collection of 2,000 or so remnants of prehistoric animals, ranging
from primitive dogs and horses to mammoths, will help to identify quality cell
tissue from which to extract useful DNA. The story has provoked considerable
excitement in Russian social media, with many speculating about whether this
will lead to the birth of an actual mammoth hybrid. But others
ask whether the priority
should actually be to help save existing species
which are on the brink of extinction, rather than trying to revive those which
have been gone for thousands of years.