Mammoth job of re-creation
They last roamed the earth more than 5000 years ago - but now Japanese scientists are planning to use cloning technology to create a live woolly mammoth.
The procedure involves using the tissue from the carcass of a mammoth preserved in a Russian laboratory, according to a report in Britain's Daily Mail newspaper.
The nuclei of mammoth cells will be inserted into an elephant's egg cell to create an embryo containing mammoth genes.
The embryo will then be inserted into an elephant's uterus, the Daily Mail reported.
"Preparations to realise this goal have been made," said Dr Akira Iritani, leader of the team and a professor emeritus of Kyoto University.
"If a cloned embryo can be created, we need to discuss, before transplanting it into the womb, how to breed (the mammoth) and whether to display it to the public.
"After the mammoth is born, we will examine its ecology and genes to study why the species became extinct and other factors," he added.
Woolly mammoths died out during the last ice age, more than 5,000 years ago.
Some mammoth remains still retain usable tissue samples, making it possible to recover cells for cloning, unlike dinosaurs, which disappeared around 65 million years ago and whose remains exist only as fossils.
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