Are we on our way to a real life Jurassic Park scenario?
Maybe, scientists have apparently taken a successful first step to recreating the wooly mammoth. According to The Sunday Times (UK):
Scientists have taken a major step towards recreating the woolly mammoth after inserting 14 of the extinct animal’s genes into the live DNA of an elephant.
In the research the scientists analysed DNA from mammoths preserved in Arctic permafrost to find its structure, then used the results to reproduce exact copies of 14 mammoth genes. These were integrated into the elephant genome, where they functioned as normal DNA.
However, according to popular science blog IFLScience, scientists are still a ways off from actually being able to bring back the prehistoric creature.
Although scientists have managed to find fragments of mammoth DNA from frozen cells, which raised the possibility they could be stitched back together, they have so far failed to find enough to perform cloning experiments. While some scientists have therefore ruled out using this technique to bring mammoths back from extinction, all hope may not be lost as some think it is possible to merge genes taken from preserved specimens with those of their closest living relative—the Asian elephant.
Isolated populations of mammoths survived until around 4,000 years ago when the species died out, likely due to natural climate change and over hunting.