South Koreans kick off efforts to clone extinct Siberian cave lions

Samples taken from cubs frozen in permafrost for at least 12,000 years.

Two infant prehistoric big cats – dating from Pleistocene times – were found in a ‘sensational’ discovery last year, as disclosed by The Siberian Times. The cubs were dug from their icy grave ‘complete with all their body parts: fur, ears, soft tissue and even whiskers’, said Dr Albert Protopopov, head of the mammoth fauna studies department of the Yakutian Academy of Sciences.

Now cloning expert Hwang Woo-suk, a South Korean scientist who is already pioneering  research work to bring the extinct woolly mammoth back to life, is in Yakutsk to obtain samples of one of the cave lion cubs. These laboratory pictures show skin and muscle tissue being extracted from the ancient creature’s Dina’s remains.

Taking samples

Taking samples

Dr Protopopov said: ‘Together with the Mammoth Museum, we took samples for cell research.’ The museum’s experts will study these for the presence of living cells suitable for cloning.

Hwang came to Yakutsk – capital of the Sakha Republic – specifically for this purpose. But there was dispute between the Siberian and Korean scientists over the size of the sample.

-more at Siberian Times

 

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