Cells from a woolly mammoth that died 28,000 years ago have shown signs of activity after being implanted in mice.
Nuclei taken from a well preserved specimen discovered in Siberian permafrost in 2011 showed essential biological reactions needed for cell division to take place.
This is a key component of life and five of the several dozen mouse egg cells implanted with the mammoth genetic material exhibited the behaviour.
None, however, produced the actual cell division needed for a mammoth rebirth.
Kei Miyamoto, a member of the team at Kindai University in western Japan who conducted the experiment, told AFP: ‘This suggests that, despite the years that have passed, cell activity can still happen and parts of it can be recreated.
‘Until now many studies have focused on analysing fossil DNA and not whether they still function,’ he added.
The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, doesn’t provide much hope for Ju
rassic Park-style resurrection of long-extinct species just yet, he cautioned.
‘We have also learned that damage to cells was very profound.
‘We are yet to see even cell divisions. I have to say we are very far from recreating a mammoth.’