London: A zoo similar to that of Hollywood sci-fi "Jurassic Park" may become real as scientists are working on a project to create dinosaur and other extinct animals in laboratory with the help of their frozen cells.
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, and San Diego Zoo have collaborated in an attempt to bring endangered species back from the brink of extinction, The Telegraph reported citing the New Scientist.
Experiments are on to develop stem cells from the skin cells of a dead drill monkey, an endangered monkey native to Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Cameroon.
The experts hope that the "induced pluripotent stem" (iPS) cells thus created can then be bio-chemically persuaded into becoming sperm and egg cells. They can then be implanted into the womb of another monkey, and will hopefully form a viable foetus.
San Diego Zoo`s Frozen Zoo project has taken samples from 8,400 individuals of more than 800 species. It is hoped that these samples can be used in in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) to improve captive breeding projects.
"You could actually breed from animals that are dead," Jeane Loring, one of the Scripps researchers, was quoted as saying by the paper.
While the process is being used on endangered species, it would be technically possible to use it for extinct animals, using surrogate mothers from other species.
Last year, for the first time, an extinct animal - the Pyrenean ibex - was cloned using skin samples and the eggs of a domestic goat, although the ibex died shortly after birth.