A group of Japanese scientists claim to have taken a "significant step" to bring back to life the woolly mammoths, after transplanting cells extracted from a frozen mammoth to a mouse, where the cells showed biological activity. The samples were taken from the bone marrow and muscles of the mummified remains of a woolly mammoth 28,000 years ago.
Once the samples were obtained, they were able to find 88 structures similar to the nuclei of the muscle sample. Subsequently, they injected them into mouse oocytes, a cell that can undergo a genetic division to form an egg cell. And it happened. One of the structures emerged from the injected core. In addition, they found possible signs of damaged mammoth DNA repair. Those responsible for the study, published in the journal "Nature", explained that "these results indicate that a part of the mammoth nuclei has the potential for nuclear reconstitution." Despite this, the success was not complete because they did not observe the additional cell division necessary to create a viable egg, "possibly due to the extensive DNA damage of the transferred nuclei."
This marks a "significant step for mammoths to come back from death," said researcher Kei Miyamoto, one of the authors of the study. "We want our study to move towards the stage of cell division," he added, but acknowledged that "we still have a long way to go."
Most mammoth populations became extinct 14,000 years ago. The last population lived on the Kyttyk peninsula of Siberia more than 9,000 years ago. however, woolly mammoths were the last to disappear and resisted another 5,000 years on the islands of Siberia, which separated from the continent in the last ice age. The last known population remained on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean until 4,000 years ago, but became extinct at the time of the construction of the Giza pyramids in Egypt.
There is no scientific consensus on the main cause of the disappearance of the mammoths, which could be a combination of climate change and hunting by humans.