Mammoth Blood Found in Russia

Could aid cloning project

    Photo: Kurzon

Russian scientists hope that liquid blood recently found in a mammoth carcass in Siberia will help them in their project to clone the prehistoric creatures. Researchers from the Northeast Federal University in Yakutsk were on an expedition in Russia's Lyakhovsky Islands when they discovered the well-preserved female specimen frozen in the ice.

In a statement on their website, the team said the mammoth's blood and soft tissues were exceptionally well-preserved; after 10,000 years, only parts of the body, head, and one leg were skeletonized.

"The blood is very dark, it was found in ice cavities below the belly and when we broke these cavities with a poll pick, the blood came running out," said expedition head Semyon Grigoriev. The expedition's scientists say the blood may have some cryoprotective, or anti-freezing, properties, since it stayed liquid at temperatures as low as 19 degrees.

Besides its value as a research specimen, the University hopes to use material from the mammoth in a joint project with a South Korean team aimed at cloning the animals.

According to CNN, the controversial head of the project, Hwang Woo-suk, is known as the researcher who confessed to fabricating data after he announced in 2004 that he had cloned human embryonic stem cells.

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