’We consider these cells conditionally alive’, explains Professor Vladimir Repin, leader of the research team, ’because they were fixed in formalin to preserve after extracting them from the mammoth body in the field. However, the inner structure of these cells is undamaged, so we suggest that the rest frozen tissues contain similar cell layers, which could be defrozen’. The sensational finding was made by Oleg Taranov, a member of the research team.
The story is as follows. Last summer an international paleontology expedition supported by International Science and Technology Center worked in Yakutia. Russian scientists from the Institute of Applied Ecology of the North, Yakutsk and NPO Vector and Japanese scientists from several research centers took part in the expedition. The researchers have found two well-preserved mammoth’s legs, which were frozen in the soil on the bank vault of the Maksunokha-River near Deputatsky village not far from Yakutsk. The valuable finding was not dug out, but washed out with a water jet. The animal’s legs with muscles and skin, covered with reddish fur were put into the freezer and transported to Yakutsk, into the famous Museum of Mammoth.
One may wonder, why the finding of living mammoth cells is so important for the scientists. The point is the amazing idea of Japanese biologists to clone the extinct animal. Maybe, DNA samples from the found cells will do for these plans.
Nadejda Markina | Informnauka
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