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Scientists ‘confident’ that they can extract cells to clone 42,000 year old extinct foal

By The Siberian Times reporter
08 April 2019

A Russian and South Korean team is selecting a horse to become ‘mother’ to bring prehistoric species back to life.

The precious find, this foal lived more than 42,000 years ago. Picture: Semyon Grigoryev/NEFU

The light ginger-coloured foal from 42,170 years ago died when it was just one or two weeks old but it could lead to a giant leap for ‘Jurassic Park’ technology.

The baby horse was preserved in near perfect condition.

The cell-extracting work is being undertaken by scientists who also have the goal of one day restoring the extinct woolly mammoth.

After several months of intense work on the foal in Yakutsk, researchers are growing optimistic that they will obtain the cells needed to clone the long-gone cold-resistant Lenskaya horse.

‘Researchers are confident of success of the project,’ said a source at the North East Federal University which is hosting the work.

'The attempts will continue until the end of April this year.’

Scientists ‘confident’ that they can extract cells to clone 42,000 year old extinct foal preserved in permafrost


Scientists ‘confident’ that they can extract cells to clone 42,000 year old extinct foal preserved in permafrost


Scientists ‘confident’ that they can extract cells to clone 42,000 year old extinct foal preserved in permafrost


Scientists ‘confident’ that they can extract cells to clone 42,000 year old extinct foal preserved in permafrost
The international Russian-Korean team is pictured working in a laboratory in Yakutia on cell extraction. Pictures: Michil Yakovlev/NEFU


The international research team is led by South Korean cloning expert Professor Hwang Woo-suk and the project is seen as paving the way for an eventual attempt to bring back the woolly mammoth.

Pictures here show the pioneering work to extract cells to be used in the foal cloning attempt. 

‘The first month of work in Yakutia was not a success,’ admitted a university publication. ‘However, scientists are making more attempts to grow a cell that will be the key  to clone the foal.’ 

And in this they are now ‘confident of success’. 

Dr Lena Grigoryeva, a leading Russian researcher, said: 'Cells are grown in a special nutrient medium. At first the material is milled and put in a CO2 incubator for a few days.

'Three to four days later the cells are checked and the nutrient medium is replaced.' 

This happens every time [researchers make another attempt].

There have been more than 20 attempts over the last month.

'There are seven researchers involved in the project on the Korean side and everyone is positive about the outcome,’ Grigoryeva revealed. 

Scientists ‘confident’ that they can extract cells to clone 42,000 year old extinct foal preserved in permafrost


Scientists ‘confident’ that they can extract cells to clone 42,000 year old extinct foal preserved in permafrost


Scientists ‘confident’ that they can extract cells to clone 42,000 year old extinct foal preserved in permafrost

The Batagai foal minutes after it was found and later in the laboratory. Pictures: Semyon Grigoryev, Michil Yakovlev/NEFU


Scientists are already discussing the type of horse to use for cloning a species that has not walked the climate for thousands of years. 

A key is to use a horse that has already been deployed in successful cloning, Lena Grigoryeva said.

‘The Korean horse will fit in perfectly,’ she explained. ‘They have been used in cloning for a while and the technology is mastered to perfection.

'Besides, the Korean horse is quite ancient too. It is a successor of Mongolian horse.’

Earlier it was suggested a Yakut horse mare would be used. 

Scientists ‘confident’ that they can extract cells to clone 42,000 year old extinct foal preserved in permafrost

Yakut horses can live unsheltered at temperatures up to -70C. Picture: The Siberian Times


Michil Yakovlev, editor of the university’s corporate media, said: ‘Hopefully, the world will soon meet the clone of the ancient foal who lived 42,000 years ago.’

The foal was found in the Batagai depression in Yakutia. 

Dr Semyon Grigoryev, leading researcher at the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk, previously said: 'Fortunately, the animal's muscle tissues were undamaged and well preserved, so we managed to get samples of this unique find for biotechnology research.'

The foal ‘has no damage to its carcass, even its hair is preserved - which is incredibly rare for such ancient finds’, he said. 

The Batagai depression in Yakutia, picture: The Siberian Times

Scientists ‘confident’ that they can extract cells to clone 42,000 year old extinct foal preserved in permafrost

Comments (9)

Over the last few decades cloning horses has become old hat. Considered cloning my old mare. All you really need to clone your favorite equine is viable tissue, an empty egg, a surrogate, and the money. While they are considering a Korean mare as surrogate, where will the egg come from? There's a saying amongst horse breeders, "60% of the foal comes from the mare." I suspect, as Jim McClarin mentioned above, it's because of the mtDNA. So, then, would it be ok to amend the phrase to "10% of the cloned foal comes from the mare's egg"? xD Will they use a Yakut mare for the egg to blow the nucleus out of? The Yakut horses seem to be the most similar. I also hope they implant an embryo in at least 15 mares, so that way they will get one to 3 successes. And, go poke around in that big hole some more; find a female! Just like regular foaling season, I can't stand the wait!!! I wanna see that baby!
Cheri Smith, Titusville, FL, USA
24/07/2019 12:16
0
0
They obtained the cells needed to clone the long-gone cold-resistant Lenskaya horse ?
I heard such attempts would be contiuned by the end of this month(April), so I wonfered it was successful.
Strangers, Seoul / Korea
30/04/2019 15:29
9
4
Amazing I want to follow what happens
Jo Mann, Taiwan
15/04/2019 08:35
4
0
While the nuclear DNA will be 100% from the target species, its mitochondrial DNA will be 100% from the mother or host species. Let's say they get a female and use her as the host for a secondary cloning from a wee bit of her own live tissue, the mtDNA will still be that of the original host mother. Going forward, though it may look like the extinct species, examination of the mtDNA of any organism will show whether or not cloning was involved. Imagine if we discovered two species with the same mtDNA. Then the question would be which one was cloned or whether both were cloned using a third species as host mother. Even more importantly in that case, who was the cloner?
Jim McClarin, Cosanga/Ecuador
15/04/2019 05:19
7
0
Wonderful science is about to bring back to life the past Siberian history! I salute my Yakut cousins with whom I share DNA from my Viking ancestor who brought Yakut into the Family tree!!!
MD Wingo, Alabama/USA
11/04/2019 18:45
2
0
Not sure how I feel about this. This is scientifically awesome, however what is to come of the horse once it is born? Is it just going to be a Guinea pig? Is it even going to enjoy life? Will it survive the difference in climate? Creatures go extinct for a reason.
Kelly, Texas
11/04/2019 05:29
14
2
I can find more interesting, relevant and enlightening news on Siberian Times in an hour than I can on CNN and Fox news combined, in a day. I sincerely love exercising my mind on ST. Thank you for refreshing content, ST.
Chad, Texas USA
09/04/2019 17:30
16
1
Which cell be compatible for cloning. If we find bone or claws or any other hard tissue or organ of extinct organism. Can we able to do cloning of those cells?

Can we merger the DNA of an extinct organism to close relative species. What result we can find?

How many species were recovered after extinction?
Samiullah, Pakistan
09/04/2019 01:52
7
0
That is so neet but kinda scary to what cloning could lead to.
James, Alaska
09/04/2019 01:43
5
0
1

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