Authorities in Russia have set up a brand new research laboratory in Siberia that will be dedicated solely to studying the DNA of extinct animals. According to the director of the Mammoth Museum at Northeastern Federal University in Yakutsk, Semen Grigoryev, the lab will be focused on attempting to clone a mammoth in the near future. Grigoryev explained that the laboratory would seek out live cells with a view to cloning and that the priority is to look into bringing back the mammoth.
The Russian facility will work with the Beijing Institute of Genomics and Sooam Biotech, a company that has previous experience in cloning other animals such as dogs. These partnerships will allow all three parties to share research and knowledge in the hopes of advancing the technology as quickly as possible. The biggest challenge will be to find suitable DNA extracts, though the new facility does have a collection of more than 2,000 prehistoric fossils to study.
The cloning of previously extinct animals is something that so far has been limited to science fiction films like Jurassic Park and the announcement has attracted some criticism from those who feel research should be focused on preserving animals on the brink of extinction.