This wouldn’t be the first time that a scientist, and a relatively huge team, have tried to bring back an extinct animal. Furthermore, it isn’t the first time that a Woolly Mammoth has been the extinct animal of choice. But for one scientist, those previous attempts mean nothing, because within the next five years, Dr. Akira Iritani wholeheartedly believes that he can bring back the giant animal.
Dr. Iritani plans on travelling to a Russian-based Mammoth research facility this summer, where he will try to acquire a working tissue sample. Iritani says that as long as the sample is three square centimeters, he should be able to retrieve what he needs to create life from the sample. He will insert the cells into an egg of an African elephant, where the gestation period is said to be last up to 600 days.
Iritani will be using a method, while slightly altered to fit his precise needs, that was originally used by Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama of the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology 16 years previously. This method successfully cloned a mouse that had been frozen for 16 years. Obviously 5,000 years, which the Woolly Mammoth has been extinct, is drastically different than 16 years, but Iritani believes the “technical problems” have been overcome, and therefore it is finally possible to bring back a Woolly Mammoth.
Dr. Akira Iritani is a professor at Kyoto University. If he succeeds in his endeavor, Iritani plans on studying the Woolly Mammoth’s genes and ecology to figure out why the species became extinct.