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Russian Mammoth to be Cloned

Japanese scientists pin great hopes on cross-insemination
On July 15, a fragment of a mammoth body was delivered from Russia to Japan; the body will be used as a donor of genetic material for cloning and further revival of shaggy elephants from the glacial epoch, NEWSRu.com reports. The biological material in a container with liquid oxygen has been already transported from Tokyo's international airport of Narita to the Scientific Technical Center of the Gifu prefecture.

On July 16 the material was sent to the laboratory of the physical and engineering department of the Kinki University. This is the place where Siberian mammoth that disappeared several thousands of years ago will be cloned. The experiment will be conducted by Professor Akira Iritani, 72, expert in reproductive engineering. Fragments of a mammoth body applicable for the operation were discovered by a Russian-Japanese expedition near the city of Chokurdakh (Yakutia), 400 kilometers from the Polar Circle last August.

After the expedition, scientists brought some parts of the mammoth leg to Yakutsk. Further the fragments were studied by scientists from Vektor, the Novosibirsk Virology and Biotechnology Center. They managed to discover a cell in the biological material which suits for cloning of a mammoth.

Now researchers from the Kinki University plan to identify whether the fragment contains genetic material. If there is genetic material, an experiment will be held to create a mammoth's impregnated ovum which will be then implanted in a female elephant. Scientists say that even if the experiment is a success, it will take several decades of cross-inseminations to produce a thoroughbred mammoth.

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