The Yonhap news agency reported that a team of South Korean scientists headed by controversial geneticist Hwang Woo-suk will be working with a Russian University to clone the now extinct Wooly Mammoth.
The Wooly Mammoth went extinct 4,500 years ago. The Sooam Biotech Research Foundation (Sooam BRF) signed a research pact with Russia’s North-Eastern Federal University to clone the creature.
Scientists plan to replace the nuclei of egg cells from a modern Indian elephant with those taken from the mammoth’s somatic cells, which could produce embryos with mammoth DNA. The embryos will then be implanted into the elephant for a 22-month pregnancy, which will hopefully produce a live mammoth.
Sooam BRF is currently working on completing the reconstruction of the somatic cells and plan to be finished by next year.
The leader of Sooam BRF, Hwang Woo-suk, is a deeply controversial figure in South Korean science. He rose to fame in 2004 when he claimed to have created human stem cells from a cloned embryo.
he was accused of violating medical ethics and using eggs from researchers in his lab. In 2006, South Korean investigators ruled that he falsified the data. He was given a two-year suspended sentence for misuse of research funds and ethical lapses.
This project will be the first attempt to bring back a species that has been long extinct. There are serious questions about the ethics of doing so. People want to know where they were going to house it, and whether there were plans to release them back into the wild. I guess we have to see if it works first.
Do you think they should clone the wooly mammoth?