Monday, Feb 20 2017
All Cities
Choose Your City
'Lake Baikal: the very name fills Russian hearts with awe'
Mike Carter, The Observer

'Initial stage' reached on dream of cloning woolly mammoth - expert

By Olga Gertcyk
29 July 2016

South Korean specialist hails opening of new World Mammoth Centre in Siberia, dedicated to bringing beast back to life.

A whooly mammoth inside a permafrost cave in Yakutsk. Picture: The Siberian Times 

Cloning guru Professor Hwang Woo-Suk did not go into details of the progress made in restoring the extinct species after several thousand years of extinction, but made clear he expected to publish new research in scientific journals as soon as 'checks' are complete. 

Speaking in Yakutsk - Russia's mammoth capital which is to host a pioneering new international centre dedicated to the creature - the controversial South Korean scientist confirmed progress in bringing the animal back to life after cooperation between experts from the two countries. 

'As a result of tireless joint efforts, we have achieved what we call the 'initial stage' on our way to recovering the mammoth,' he said, thanking Russian president Vladimir Putin for his support for research in this field. 'At this stage, thorough scientific checks are under way. 

'Once they are completed, we will publish the results in scientific journals.'

South Korean specialist hails opening of new World Mammoth Centre in Siberia, dedicated to bringing beast back to life.


South Korean specialist hails opening of new World Mammoth Centre in Siberia, dedicated to bringing beast back to life.
Yuka the 'strawberry blond' whooly mammoth in Yakutsk. Pictures: The Siberian Times 


The professor leads the SOAAM Biotech Research Foundation in South Korea and has been working closely for several years with Russian specialists at the North Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, which will host the new World Centre for Mammoth Studies.

'The second step, and further studies, are already scheduled by researchers of the university, SOOAM and the Korean National Research Group,' he revealed.

He did not put a timescale on when he hoped to see mammoths once more tromping the earth, but said: 'We continue the search for new materials and samples. We need such cell that can share information. If we could find a sample that is not only well preserved but also in which biochemical processes can take place, we will be able to impregnate it with the help of the Asian elephant materials.'

South Korean professor noted that the political leadership in Russia supports scientific achievements, and said that the interest of the head of state in mammoth studies is evident.

South Korean specialist hails opening of new World Mammoth Centre in Siberia, dedicated to bringing beast back to life.


South Korean specialist hails opening of new World Mammoth Centre in Siberia, dedicated to bringing beast back to life.


South Korean specialist hails opening of new World Mammoth Centre in Siberia, dedicated to bringing beast back to life.


South Korean specialist hails opening of new World Mammoth Centre in Siberia, dedicated to bringing beast back to life.

Hwang Woo-Suk pictured working in Yakutia. Pictures: SEFU, Semyon Grigoryev, YSIA  


The head of the university's Mammoth Museum laboratory, Semyon Grigoriev, said: 'There are two options for the mammoth cloning. 

'The first is through the search for active cells. The second option is artificial DNA synthesis.'

The new World Mammoth Centre 'will see progress in palaeontological studies and the final goal will get closer,' he added. 'The university is a unique place with a rigorous research team where serious studies are conducted.'

He spoke as it was confirmed that the new World Centre for Mammoth Studies will be opened at the  Northeastern Federal University.

Successful cloning will be a key aim but in an intriguing move it was also revealed that tourists to Yakutsk - the world's coldest city and Russia's diamond capital -  would be invited to witness the ongoing work to bring the woolly mammoth back from the dead. 

The centre is being built in partnership with the Korean Fund for Biotechnology Research. It will have underground laboratories sunk into the permafrost on which Yakutsk is built.

South Korean specialist hails opening of new World Mammoth Centre in Siberia, dedicated to bringing beast back to life.


South Korean specialist hails opening of new World Mammoth Centre in Siberia, dedicated to bringing beast back to life.
Semyon Grigoryev with Vladimir Putin, and Yakutsk marked on the world map. Pictures: YSIA 


The centre will help improve competitiveness of Russian science in the field of paleontology, said Egor Borisov, head of the Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia, the largest constituent of the Russian Federation. He stressed that the centre should be open to tourists from around the world. 

In 2006, Hwang was dismissed by Seoul National University  for faking groundbreaking work in stem cell research.

The university said Hwang had damaged its and his country's reputation. Yet he remains at the forefront of research into cloning, and he is leading research into seeking the DNA of the woolly mammoth from remains of the creatures recovered from the permafrost in the Sakha Republic. He is also working on other extinct animals such as Siberian cave lions. 

The mass death of mammoths began about 20,000 to 24,000 years ago. The process continued for a long time and had a pronounced second wave of extinctions that occurred 13,000 to 15,000 years ago.

The last major wave of deaths occurred about 9,000 to 12,000 years ago although there is evidence they survived in smaller groups near Alaska and at Wrangel Island, in the Russian Arctic, as recently as 3,700 years ago.

Pictures below show team if Yakutian scientists working with a carcass of a woolly mammoth

South Korean specialist hails opening of new World Mammoth Centre in Siberia, dedicated to bringing beast back to life.


South Korean specialist hails opening of new World Mammoth Centre in Siberia, dedicated to bringing beast back to life.


South Korean specialist hails opening of new World Mammoth Centre in Siberia, dedicated to bringing beast back to life.


South Korean specialist hails opening of new World Mammoth Centre in Siberia, dedicated to bringing beast back to life.


Comments (12)

El Hombre ha venido extinguiendo todas las Especies Animales desde sus inicios, hasta hoy. Yo pienso que el mal de todo el mundo es la sobre población a nivel Global y pienso que todos los Lideres Mundiales deben preocuparse por el peligro que siempre está sometiendo al Planeta. Es algo disparatado lo que digo, pero esta es la Realidad.
Israel Carrillo, Colombia
05/02/2017 22:22
0
0
Chuck Missler? He is a fraud and NOT a scientist, nor is he a Dr. His "PhD" is from an unaccredited, online, Baptist college. So not a real college. Bible is myth/fiction. Period.
Dave G., Las Vegas, NV
03/02/2017 10:09
0
1
Yabba Dabba Doo, the bible is not fictional. Apparently you haven't read the reports from Archeological digs proving the bible to be correct. May I suggest a book called "Cosmic Codes" by a scientist named Chuck Misler. Also I suggest reading up on the Bible Codes as well.
Donna, USA
02/02/2017 09:27
1
1
Why is it messing with God's plan? Assuming god does exist then he designed us with the mental capacity to learn how to create cloning technology. Why would he give us the tools and not want us to use them? And please don't say to test our faith/restraint as this is based on the faulty premise that God would not want us to use the full mental capacity and curiosity he has given us.
Ed, United Kingdom
01/02/2017 04:28
2
1
I heard that they would bring them back to Siberia in order to eat foliage and somehow reverse global warming. I am not a scientist.
Safetyjack, USA
28/01/2017 07:43
0
2
Andrew...GOD? Wooly Mammoths predate the fictional bible, therefore, you will not be messing with "God's" plan. Um...because there isn't one. Have a nice day.

Yabba Dabba Doo
Fred Flintstone, Bedrock
28/01/2017 00:44
3
2
Yeah...Andrew...it's probably the human's fault for the dinosaur's extinction too.....
K, USA
14/01/2017 08:57
2
2
Actually it's likely that prehistoric humans were responsible for the extinction of the wooly mammoth. The timeline for the disappearance of most species of megafauna coincides eerily with that of the spread of humans across the globe.
Andrew S., Baltimore MD
01/01/2017 07:46
6
5
I would love to see a live wooly mammoth, I'm scared though as to messing with nature and God's plan. Obviously he had a reason for this species going extinct. Unlike in today's world they didn't have the population of destructive humans that we do nowadays causing major destruction across this planet. So what was the reason? Are we prepared to reinstate a species to find out?
Jeff O., Medford Oregon USA
01/01/2017 00:49
4
15
Surely hope I get to see a live mammoth, maybe a cave lion or others. Would be neat to spend some time in the Pleistocene, undo some extinctions.
Jim Comstock, Saratoga, N.Y. USA
11/11/2016 03:28
6
2
Maybe it would be better to work on preserving current species in danger of extinction than to spend resources on questionable attempts to undo what nature has done.
Jim Murphy, Lynn, Massachusetts, USA
01/08/2016 11:33
9
15
We live in the dronne river valley about 2 hours from Lascaux in the dordogne by car. My fields are littered with large neatherthal chopping tools. Perhaps some of them were used for buthering mamoths.
As a former archeologist my dream would be to see the mamoth come back to the dordogne some day
bruce hocking, laprade france
29/07/2016 23:51
17
2
1

Add your comment

We welcome a healthy debate, but do not accept offensive or abusive comments. Please also read 'Siberian Times' Privacy Policy

Name

Town/Country

Add your comments

The views expressed in the comments above are those of our readers. 'Siberian Times' reserves the right to pre-moderate some comments.

Control code*

Type the code

* obligatory


News

Business

The Bank of Russia official exchange rates of foreign currencies
EUR61.45USD57.63GBP71.99Other...