London: A professor has claimed that the woolly mammoth, extinct for thousands of years, could be reborn with the help of cloning technology.
Akira Iritani, a professor at Kyoto University, is reactivating a campaign to resurrect the species that died out 5,000 years ago.
"Now the technical problems have been overcome, all we need is a good sample of soft tissue from a frozen mammoth," the Telegraph quoted him as telling The Daily Telegraph.
He intends to use Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama’s technique, which was successful in cloning a mouse from the cells of another mouse that had been frozen for 16 years, to identify the nuclei of viable mammoth cells before extracting the healthy ones.
The nuclei will then be inserted into the egg cells of an African elephant, which will act as the surrogate mother for the mammoth.
Iritani said he estimates that another two years will be needed before the elephant can be impregnated, followed by the approximately 600-day gestation period.
"The success rate in the cloning of cattle was poor until recently but now stands at about 30 per cent," he said.
"I think we have a reasonable chance of success and a healthy mammoth could be born in four or five years," he added.